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Match preview: Brisbane v Collingwood

Pick a Winner: BL v Coll Duck and Browny preview the Lions v Magpies
Will Collingwood tag Dayne Zorko? - AFL,Brisbane Lions,Collingwood Magpies
Will Collingwood tag Dayne Zorko?

Collingwood is one of the early-season surprise packets and Brisbane are still winless, but this looms as a danger game for the Magpies. Fresh off blockbuster wins against Adelaide and Essendon on Anzac Day, Collingwood enhanced its reputation with a gritty performance against Richmond before a late fade. They head to the Gabba with a 3-3 win-loss record and, despite sporting a white-hot midfield led by Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Adam Treloar, have some injury concerns that may tilt the balance of favouritism ever-so-slightly. Aside from one poor showing against the Tigers, the Lions have been ultra-competitive in the opening six weeks despite failing to register a win. They have matched their opponents most weeks in contested footy and clearances with ruckman Stefan Martin a central figure to this. That all said, if the Magpies want to see September action, these are the types of games they simply must win. 

WHERE AND WHEN: the Gabba, Sunday, May 6, 4.40pm AEST 
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide  

R10, 2017, Collingwood 18.21 (129) d Brisbane Lions 13.6 (84) at the MCG
R8, 2016, Collingwood 20.23 (143) d Brisbane Lions 10.5 (65) at the MCG
R1, 2015, Collingwood 12.14 (86) d Brisbane Lions 11.8 (74) at the Gabba
R21, 2014, Brisbane Lions 18.15 (123) d Collingwood 8.8 (56) at the MCG
R10, 2013, Collingwood 14.16 (100) d Brisbane Lions 7.9 (51) at the Gabba 

1.Collingwood’s midfield stars were the difference when the sides played in 2017. Scott Pendlebury had 31 disposals and eight tackles, Steele Sidebottom 34 touches and small forwards Jamie Elliott and Alex Fasolo combined for six goals.

2. The Lions are the lowest-scoring team so far in 2018, averaging just 63 points a game. In two of their past three matches they've been held to just two and five goals. Collingwood is averaging 87 points a game.

3. Collingwood has dominated Brisbane recently, winning the past three matches and six of the past seven. In total the teams have played 44 times with the Magpies holding a 25-19 advantage. At the Gabba it's a different story though with the Lions leading 11-8.

4. The Magpies are the highest disposal team in 2018, one of only three averaging more than 400 a game. In contrast the Lions are 14th with an average of 364.8.

5. Brisbane hasn’t started a season 0-7 since 2011. Since 2013 they’ve managed only seven wins from 41 games in the first seven rounds of the season.

6. The Magpies have five players – Pendlebury, Treloar, Brodie Grundy, Sidebottom and Jeremy Howe – ranked in the top 50 of the AFL's Official Player Ratings and Taylor Adams is right next door at 51. The Lions have just one – Dayne Zorko.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR … Dayne Zorko
The word is out – Zorko can be shut down with a tag. Last year's All Australian has had a super slow start to 2018, averaging just 15 disposals a match. Against Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney in the past fortnight that has plummeted even further, with just 10 touches in each match. For the Lions to win, Zorko must find a way to lift. 

PREDICTION: Collingwood by 19 points

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs