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Where: The Gabba, Brisbane
When: 07.40 (BST)
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Essendon got back on track with a win over the Western Bulldogs last week and will see this as a chance to square its season ledger at 4-4.
The Lions sunk back to the bottom of the table with a 79-point hiding from the Sydney Swans, and despite the likely return of Jonathan Brown and Pearce Hanley from injury, will start this one as heavy underdogs.
The Bombers struggled to score against the Bulldogs, but were rock solid in defence, led by Cale Hooker, Michael Hurley and the ageless Dustin Fletcher. With an inexperienced Lions outfit battling to hit the scoreboard, that should be enough for the Bombers to leave Brisbane with the premiership points.
1. This will be the 40th clash between the clubs and the Bombers hold a 22-16 winning advantage, with one draw. The Lions have won 10 of 14 at the Gabba.
2. The Lions continue to struggle in a number of categories, ranked in the bottom four in disposals, uncontested possessions, contested possessions, marks inside 50, and are last in scoring.
3. The Lions’ biggest victory over the Bombers was a 66-point win in round 12 2004, while Essendon’s biggest win was by a crushing 140 points in round nine 1988.
4. No team has received fewer free kicks this season than Essendon, averaging only 15.8 a game, while the Lions are 11th with 18 a game.
5. Essendon’s defence has been strong in 2014, conceding an average of just 78 points a game, but the offence has struggled of late, averaging just 64 per match over the past four matches.
6. In the Lions’ upset win last season, livewire Dayne Zorko was the most effective player according to the Official AFL Player Ratings. Zorko had 23.8 points to clearly outstrip second-placed Jack Redden (17.1).