It’s just as well AFL matches aren’t won on paper as Brisbane might be tempted not to turn up for Sunday’s home clash against high-flying Sydney, given the horrendous weight of statistics against their side.
Charging towards a fifth straight finals campaign, the 10-3 Swans will look to consolidate their top-four status and push for a top-two position by beating a club who last defeated them back in August 2009.
Sydney have won their last seven against the Lions and have only lost two of their last 18 encounters over the past 12 years.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Brisbane, Sydney will get almost 1000 goals worth of experience back, with forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett both back from suspension.
Conversely, Brisbane will be without Josh Green, their leading goalkicker this season.
Happily it’s not all bad news on the personnel front for the last-placed Lions, who have lost six straight and won just two of 13 games.
A number of key players are returning from injury including captain Tom Rockliff.
Also coming back are veteran defender Daniel Merrett and Pearce Hanley, who will this weekend rack up his 100th senior game.
“They’ve brought experience in the team with Merritt, Rockliff and Pearce Hanley and we’ll have to be wary of them,” Swans back Jeremy Laidler said.
He was especially cautious about the influence of inspirational skipper Rockliff.
“They need that leadership and he really drives them and if he’s up and going, they play well,” Laidler said.
“We can’t let him off the chain, he’s a quality player like the other two that have come in.”
Lions assistant coach Murray Davis will look to his midfield to limit the supply of ball to Franklin and Tippett.
“Really Tippett and `Buddy’ (Franklin) will only have an influence if our midfield group don’t apply the same amount of pressure as they did (last week) against Fremantle,” Davis said.
“They’ll have a large portion of responsibility, those midfielders, to make sure we pressure up Sydney’s mids.”
Sydney will be without fullback Ted Richards, who hasn’t fully recovered from a bout of concussion he suffered in the last round.