WHERE AND WHEN: Gabba, Thursday April 18, 7.35pm (AEST)
HISTORY: The Magpies have had the wood over the Lions in recent times, claiming the points in eight of the last 10 meetings.
SUMMARY: Brisbane were given a reality check last week after starting the season 3-0, suffering a 47-point loss at the hands of Essendon. Collingwood, meanwhile, squared the ledger on their campaign but were unconvincing in doing so, Nathan Buckley’s troops registering a 14-point win over the Western Bulldogs in a dour contest.
KEY PLAYERS: Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
Neale has started his life as a Lion in scintillating fashion, the former Docker averaging a career-best 38.8 possessions per game. Second in the League for centre clearances and contested possessions and first for handballs and effective disposals, Neale’s ability to make the right decision with ball in hand at close quarters is central to Brisbane getting their running game going. Nullifying the influence of Neale will be at the top of Buckley’s agenda, with captain Scott Pendlebury set to run with the Lions star.
Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
De Goey has a good recent record against the Lions, kicking nine goals in his past two games against Brisbane. The dynamic 23-year-old has been Collingwood’s most productive forward across the opening month of the season, booting 11 goals. Harris Andrews is the Lions’ best defender and will most likely be given first crack at De Goey as he has the ability to match him in the air and at ground level. Essendon were able to put 17 goals on the board against Chris Fagan’s men last-start on the back of their slick ball movement. If the Lions don’t lift their pressure rating at the contest, De Goey and his other fellow small forwards will wreak havoc.
Daniel Rich (Brisbane)
Rich has enjoyed a strong start to season 2019, the Lions veteran averaging 24.8 touches per game and ranking in the top 10 for kicks and metres gained. The West Australian product’s ability to provide bounce off half-back with his penetrating left foot is key to Brisbane’s run and gun brand of football. Collingwood will be keen to negate Rich’s influence as an attacking springboard from the back half, with Brody Mihocek likely to be utilised in a defensive forward role. The Magpies must go through Mihocek at every available opportunity to make Rich accountable.
Adam Treloar (Collingwood)
Treloar was among Collingwood’s best last week, the 26-year-old finishing with 26 possessions at 92.3 per cent efficiency to go with eight score involvements. Treloar’s ability to break the lines is something Brisbane will want to nullify in their bid to curtail the Magpies’ small-ball setup. Expect Jarrod Berry, who has established himself as an effective run-with player, to be assigned the task of going with Treloar. An accomplished ball-winner in his own right, having averaged 23 disposals across the opening four rounds, Berry will need to test out the defensive aspect of Treloar’s game.
PREDICTION: Travelling to Brisbane will hold no fears for Collingwood given their recent record at the Gabba, and with an edge in the midfield and a touch more class forward of centre they should get up in what shapes as being a high-scoring encounter. Magpies by 16 points.