Melbourne struggled to hit the scoreboard against the Swans last Friday but they should have no such problems against the leaky Lions at the MCG.
Melbourne have to be the play on Friday night given their complete ownership of Brisbane in recent years.
The Dees have covered the line in eight of their last ten games against the Lions, including six of their last seven at home and nine straight at night. They’ve won their last six as favourites. Brisbane have lost 14 of their last 15 at the MCG. Their last win came in 2014.
Brisbane have put in their worst two efforts of the year against Melbourne, losing by 64 in Round 15 and 58 in Round 23. On both occasions, the Lions’ offensive firepower was completely stifled, scoring just 53 and 57 points – the only two times they scored below 70 all year.
Don’t read too much into Melbourne’s loss to Sydney last week, the Swans have now cleared the line in nine of the last ten head-to-head. The Dees’ one achilles heel has always been their ability to transition the ball into their forward line, and despite brilliant intercept games from Steven May and Jake Lever, the Bloods completely strangled their ball movement on rebound with unrelenting pressure and discipline.
Simon Goodwin will have no such concerns with Brisbane, who are barely AFL standard defensively, let alone finals standard. The Lions are the 15th ranked defence since Round 15, conceding 89.1 points per game. In seven losses this year they’ve conceded 104.6 points per game.
It took an all-time great performance from Brownlow favourite Lachie Neale for Brisbane to scrape past Richmond at home last week, plus the loss of the Tigers’ most important player in Dion Prestia halfway through the game. Don’t expect Neale to get that much latitude this week, with either James Harmes or Angus Brayshaw able to put the clamps on him if required.
The only caveat for Melbourne is the health of Christian Petracca, who is reportedly right to play despite a hairline leg fracture and a serious corkie. It may pay to monitor his health and jump on a smaller line later in the week if he is ruled out.
Qualifying final losers have won eight of the last twelve semi finals since 2016 and covered in seven, including three of the last four. Expect Melbourne’s quest for consecutive premierships to continue with a comfortable win at home.
UPDATE: Joe Daniher out for Brisbane due to personal reasons. The line is out to 25.5 with TopSport but we’re still very keen on the Demons.
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This match-up screams overs as long as the forecast 2-5mm of rain does not arrive during the game. Brisbane over is one of the best bets of 2022, saluting in 12 of their last 15 games. The last four head-to-head have all gone over as have Melbourne’s last six finals.
Bailey Fritsch has built a tremendous finals record, averaging 3.75 goals per game in his last four September appearances. He also booted four in Round 23 against the Lions.
Clayton Oliver has had 25 disposals in 23 of 25 games this year.
Brisbane were unable to rectify their earlier ten goal loss to Melbourne in Round 23 so there is little faith in their ability to do so here. We are well overdue for a blowout after a remarkably close week one of finals and there’s a very good chance we’ll get it here given the lopsided head-to-head record.