Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Sunday, March 31, 1.10pm AEDT
Last time they met: The Gabba, round 20, 2018: Brisbane 16.8 (104) lost to North Melbourne 16.11 (107)
The Roos led for most of the day and by as many as 29 points in the second quarter, but barely withstood the Lions’ withering fightback. It was only when No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner missed his set snap inside the last 30 seconds, after receiving a free kick, that North was safe.
What it means for North Melbourne: Lots for the Roos’ season. What was supposed to be a competitive contest with Fremantle – one they genuinely thought they could win – turned into an 82-point hiding and immediately put them on the back foot.
What it means for Brisbane: The Lions roared last week in upsetting West Coast to back up the pre-season hype, but now the challenge is winning these types of 50-50 games as well, when the expectation is higher.
How North Melbourne wins: Brad Scott reflected after round one on his side’s “dysfunctional forward line” among a series of issues, including being badly beaten at stoppages, too many turnovers and their inability to defend. Addressing those problems will go a long way to victory.
How Brisbane wins: The Lions’ willingness to adapt to last week’s scenario with their forward line, in particular, was a big part of their opening-round success, as was their dominance at the source. Brisbane’s midfielders are the key again.
The stat: Brisbane lost its past six matches to North Melbourne and hasn’t beaten the Roos at Marvel Stadium since 2009, with seven defeats since then.
The match-up: Robbie Tarrant v Eric Hipwood
Tarrant is officially the Roos’ second-ranked defender in the AFL Player Ratings (211th overall), but is widely considered the main man down back at Arden St. Hipwood (355th overall) wasn’t prominent in last week’s conditions and will look to bounce back in a big way.
It’s a big week for: Jamie Macmillan
A quick look at the stats and you’ll see Macmillan racked up a game-high 37 touches. Pretty impressive, huh? That is, until you realise he coughed up a whopping 12 turnovers. Macmillan is typically a player who can be relied upon on a weekly basis, but he’ll be keen to positively respond to his latest performance.
Father Dougals’s Tip: North by 7. At home, and while the Lions have improved I’m not sure they have improved enough to win today. I have medium confidence in this pick.
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