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Where: GABBA, Brisbane
When: Saturday July 26, 7.40am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
The eighth instalment of the ‘Q-Clash’ is arguably the most important yet, with the young Gold Coast Suns side needing a win to propel themselves back into the top eight and enter its first finals series as a club.
The Suns destroyed the Lions by 53 points earlier this season, but will go into the game without its superstar captain in Gary Ablett.
If Guy McKenna’s side are serious about finals football however, they must learn to win without him.
Saturday’s match provides the perfect opportunity for Gold Coast to both win without Ablett, and to get a much needed percentage boost.
There’s no doubt Brisbane have improved since the last time these two sides faced each other, and with the loss of Kade Kolodjashnij compounding that of Ablett’s, Justin Leppitsch’s chargers will back themselves for a win here.
The Lions welcome back vice-captain Tom Rockliff from suspension, but the Suns still have too much class and should get home comfortably.
1. In Gold Coast’s victory over the Lions in round three, Gary Ablett starred for the Suns with 38 disposals, Dion Prestia had 32 and Sam Day booted four goals. Tom Rockliff led the Lions with 35 touches and three goals.
2. The Lions have kicked the fewest goals in the AFL this season – 149 in 16 games for an average of just 9.3 a game (Melbourne has kicked 150 in 17 games for an average of 8.8). Gold Coast has the sixth-best goal average this year at 13.1 a game.
3. Gold Coast has a poor record at the Gabba, with just one win from six games (one each against Carlton and Melbourne, and four against the Lions). Its sole victory at this venue was in the first QClash in 2011 – by eight points.
4. Gold Coast is the second-best contested possession side in the AFL, averaging 146.9 a game (the Sydney Swans are No.1 at 150). The Lions are last for contested possessions, averaging 125.1.
5. The Suns are also a strong centre clearance team, ranked equal fourth with an average of 13.2 a game, while the Lions are 16th at 11.1 a game.
6. Second-year Suns midfielder Jaeger O’Meara continues his surge up the Official AFL Player Ratings, and is now ranked 58th after his 22 disposals, nine tackles and two goals against the Western Bulldogs.(AFL.com.au)