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Aussie Rules: Brisbane Lions v Melbourne preview

Brisbane Lions need to respond to the thrashing dished out by Port Adelaide in week one when they take on Melbourne on Friday night.

These two sides are among the hot fancies to win the flag in the 2023 season but it was a disappointing start for the Lions as they lost 126-72 away at Port Adelaide last week. 

Melbourne were far more impressive as they blitzed the Western Bulldogs 115-65 and they will be out to build on that win when they take to the pitch at the Gabba in Queensland.

It is still very early days but it is always important to get off to a strong start if you want to win the premiership, so it is a massive game for both sides. 

Reigning premiers Geelong have not got off to a strong start, indeed quite the opposite. After losing their opening game against Collingwood, they backed it up with a 90-82 loss against Carlton at the MCG on Thursday night.

With the Cats losing the first two, Melbourne will see this as a great opportunity to open up an early gap, which means they are sure to come out firing on Friday night.

There is no love lost between these two sides either following some heated battles over the last few years and the intensity could move up a level on Friday night. 

It is all set up for a great game in the AFL, so let’s take a closer look at both sides.

What:Brisbane Lions v Melbourne 
Where:Gabba, Brisbane
When:19:55 (AEST) Friday 24th March, 2023
How to watch:Channel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Brisbane 2.10, Melbourne 1.75

Zorko boost for Lions

The Lions are in need of a lift following last week’s humiliating loss against Port Adelaide and they have got one in the form of their former skipper Dayne Zorko. 

Zorko has been battling with a hamstring injury that forced him to sit out the 54-point loss at the Adelaide Oval and coach Chris Fagan will be delighted to have him back in the fold. 

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Fagan believes that the return of Zorko will add some much-needed energy and experience to the fold as they look to respond against the Demons. But he was also quick to point out that Zorko cannot do it alone and it needs to be a team effort if they are to get the job done. 

It will of course be far from easy. There will need to be a big improvement on the performance they put in against Port, but Fagan says he is not reaching for the panic button and has every faith in his players to turn things around. 

He believes the defeat last week was a one-off and is expecting a response when Melbourne arrive on Friday night. Speaking ahead of the game Fagan has said how important it is for his side to put in plenty of effort. Without that he believes the Lions are just an ordinary team. 

In other team news, Brisbane will have to do without Keidean Coleman as the defender suffered a head knock last week and is following concussion protocols. However, Darragh Joyce, who arrived from St Kilda, is set to make his debut appearance for the Lions.

Trio back to bolster Demons

Melbourne got their season off to a solid start with a win over the Western Bulldogs and the fact they did it without a number of key players shows how strong they are.

Simon Goodwin’s side are keen to make up for the disappointment of last season when they failed to defend their premiership. A strong start this campaign will put them in a good position to bounce back and challenge for the flag they won in 2021. 

Melbourne impressed against the Bulldogs but their squad will now be even stronger with a number of top players returning to the fold. Defender Steven May is key to everything the Demons do and Goodwin will be delighted to have him back available.

Bayley Fritsch and Jack Viney have also returned from injury and will be hoping to play some part in the game. Christian Salem is not quite ready to make his comeback though, as he battles injury and the club will not be taking any risks with him this week.

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