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AFL ROUND 18

BRISBANE LIONS VS CARLTON BLUES

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19, 7.40 PM, GABBA, BRISBANE

Brisbane will hope this game is no more than a tune-up for the Finals as they have done all the hard work and now stand every chance to gain top position if Port falter against Collingwood on Monday.  Carlton are no longer contending for a top 8 position but have had a much improved 2020 season, as they have a 7-9 record, which has kept them close enough to the bubble of the top 8 all year long, a long way better than the past few seasons.  Brisbane enjoyed their trip to Cairns for a clash with their old foes Sydney last weekend as they turned it on for the locals, by winning 73-41, comfortably.  Carlton were Crow fodder as they managed to be belted by the resurgent Adelaide team by 24, which effectively took them out of the clogged-up fight for the last 2 finals berths, which they could have had, were it not for a few tight results.  Breezy but ideal conditions await in Brisbane for another clash at the Grand Final location of the Gabba, which looks in pristine condition, and should be half full for their Lions in a primetime slot.

Brisbane welcome their number 1 ruckman back to the fold just in time for the Finals with the return of Stefan Martin, in the one position that has troubled them all season long, while Starcevich also is back to be his reserve.  Lincoln McCarthy is the only other change, as he is on the bench, while Smith, Hinge and Answerth are all out of the side, with rest in mind for Noah.  Carlton have a few injuries, for this last game of the year, with Docherty, Setterfield and Fisher all out of contention for selection, while O’Brien is out also.  Polson will work from the bench, while Martin is on a Half Forward flank for this clash, and Pittonet and Kennedy return, notching up one more game in 2020.

Carlton did actually defeat the Lions in 2019, by 15 points in June, which is a real surprise as the Lions were very good and Carlton were the opposite, which must give them some hope in this fixture.  Carlton have a very strong 29/51 record against the Lions which is surprising given their nature of being a losing team for nearly the entire existence of Brisbane, having not been to the Finals since 1995.  Brisbane are short $1.18 favourites with a -26.5-handicap mark, while the Blues are getting no money at $5, leaving the key predictors telling us Brisbane to win loudly.

PREDICTION: Brisbane by a big number.

BETTING TIP: $2.90 about the 40+ margin win market for Brisbane seems fair enough.