Four things to watch: Bulldogs v Lions
Stop it. It’s not?
It's true, captain Bob Murphy will become just the seventh player in Footscray/Western Bulldogs history to reach the 300 game milestone this weekend.
As Luke Beveridge said in his joint press conference with Murphy on Tuesday, the jury is out on whether players find an extra spark for milestone games, it probably depends on the individual, but there's no doubt 300 is a special achievement, particularly after two knee reconstructions, and particularly for the club captain.
So grab your hat, grab your collared guernsey, do whatever you want to do to acknowledge the great man's achievement, but he's a humble man, our Bob, and once the ball is bounced it'll be all about his beloved Dogs getting the four points.
Welcome to the Jungle
Don’t be fooled by Brisbane’s ladder positon.
Yes, they’re on a three game skid after their first up win over the Suns, but if they hadn’t of allowed Richmond to kick five goals in two minutes during the second term last weekend, this could have been a different discussion.
Chris Fagan’s Lions are a young side, so inconsistency is expected, but their second half last weekend showed what they are capable of being - a tough, uncompromising side that will fight for every inch.
The Lions had the Tigers measure for total clearances, centre clearances, stoppages, tackles and only just lost the contested possession count, all effort plays, despite the 52-point loss.
The Dogs will need to bring their hard hats and lunch pails this weekend because the Lions will be on the hunt.
The numbers game
If you like numbers, you’ll like this.
Seven out of the last 10 contests between these two sides have been blowouts, the average margin sitting at just a touch under 66 points. The other three? The average was just over seven points. Now, if you want to include the actual last time the two sides played, during this year’s JLT Series, that difference was just eight points.
Keeping up? Ok, if you’re A Beautiful Mind type of person and you’re looking for a pattern, here’s something that will really get you going.
Going back to 2014, the margins have been 8, 72, 8, 53 and 8. So if there’s margins in your office footy tipping comp…. you’re welcome.
Run, Biggsy, Run
Luke Beveridge has recalled rebounding defender Shane Biggs to the side this weekend in place of the injured Travis Cloke, which, obviously, is hardly a like for like.
No question, Biggsy brings plenty of run, (and an excellent Instagram account) to the table, but he stands eight centimetres shorter than Clokey, and is a good 21 kilograms lighter.
So, what does it all mean? As Bevo acknowledged on Tuesday morning, losing a player of Cloke’s size can’t not impact how the side plays, so it’ll be interesting to see how things look with one less tall and a bit of extra pace.
Either way, we love Shane, so welcome back.