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Final questions: Can the Lions finally topple the Tigers?

Only Richmond has more wins since the start of last season, and the Lions have beaten every team since then except for the Tigers.

If this does represent a mental edge that the Tigers have over the Lions there really is no excuse that it shouldn’t be overturned in this game.

Dustin Martin and his teammates celebrate winning in round 17.

Dustin Martin and his teammates celebrate winning in round 17. Credit:Getty Images

Brisbane, through sheer chance of a pandemic, have had an armchair ride to the top four this season with bulk home games and plenty of time in their own beds.

Richmond have spent the season on the road and will be missing Tom Lynch, while important midfielder Dion Prestia (should he play) has been on the sidelines for a while.

CAN LIONS GET ON TARGET?

Save for Charlie Cameron, the Lions’ lack of top-line forward players means they rely on midfielders for many of their goals.

When they do get a chance on goal, the only team they’re more accurate than is Adelaide. Richmond rank fifth in this measure.

Harris Andrews' return from injury is crucial for Brisbane.

Harris Andrews’ return from injury is crucial for Brisbane. Credit:Getty Images

Cameron started the season on fire but form and injuries have blunted his influence.

If there is something else that could blunt his influence – indeed if you were to build a defender to quell a forward of his stature and powers – you’d look no further than Dylan Grimes.

Grimes, the man who somehow stopped the near-career best version of Eddie Betts in the 2017 grand final, will be crucial to the result of this match.

If he blankets Cameron then it’s hard for the Lions to win, and vice versa if Cameron plays well.

Sure, the Tigers are missing Lynch, but Jack Riewoldt has found his form at the right time of the year and with Dustin Martin by his side he is more than capable of leading Richmond to victory (see season 2017).

Without Lynch, who got onto Harris Andrews last time they played, Riewoldt needs to make sure he occupies the best full-back in the competition (should he play).

WHO HAS BEST SYSTEM?

More than any team Richmond is a system-based side, save for Martin’s regular brilliance.

Their method is transparent and has been plainly so for three seasons yet it still wins more than it loses.

Where Richmond opt for chaos in getting the ball forward at all costs, Brisbane can opt for a little more precision and can sometimes take the time to control the game and take the pace out of the contest.

The oppositon’s kick and mark restraint has been the Tigers’ downfall at times during their dominance, but the only problem is you still need the ground ball wherewithal to match it with Richmond when it hits the grass.

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Brisbane have that, and they have Lachie Neale, arguably the competition’s most dominant midfielder this season.

Richmond rarely win the clearance battle and that doesn’t bother them, but if Neale can use his class around the ball to get the jump on the Tigers’ defensive system for his team that will go a long way to a Brisbane win.

WHO BLINKS FIRST?

Both sides rely heavily on the turnover game, particularly to try and cause them, as close to goal as possible, choking, relentless high presses.

The Tigers have outscored their opposition by 14.9 points per game from turnovers – ranked No.1 in the competition. The Lions rank a close second in that measure with 11.9 points more than their opponents.

This method checks out because the Tigers generate the second most inside 50s in the AFL and Brisbane the third most.

WHAT HAVE LIONS LEARNT?

Richmond smashed Brisbane by 41 points in round 10 this year. Inaccuracy killed the Lions, particularly in a third quarter that saw Brisbane score 0.7.

Riewoldt kicked four goals in this game while Liam Baker was the Tigers’ best in the middle.

After conceding the first two goals, the Tigers kicked 12 of the next 14, rubbing salt into the wounds of the Lions, who shot at goal with an accuracy of a meagre 17 per cent.

Jarryd Lyons was great in the Lions midfield and will need to be so again, as was Dayne Zorko, although his ball use was off.

PREDICTION
Richmond by seven points.

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