TWO OF the early-season strugglers get a chance to break free of the doldrums when they square off in this Easter Thursday contest. After winning 15 games last season, Richmond has started poorly in 2014, with just one win from the opening four rounds. The Lions have started even worse, failing to win a quarter, let alone a match, with an already inexperienced team decimated by injuries. Both teams are missing some of their best players – in Richmond’s case Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric and Alex Rance, and the Lions have to make-do without Matthew Leuenberger and Daniel Rich for now. Richmond has a great recent record against the Lions, and should have too much class in this one.

WHERE AND WHEN: Gabba, Thursday April 17, 7.50pm

TV AND RADIO: Click here for the broadcast guide

R20, 2013, Richmond 14.13 (97) d Brisbane Lions 11.8 (74) at the MCG
R19, 2012, Richmond 20.12 (132) d Brisbane Lions 12.12 (84) at the Gabba
R13, 2011, Richmond 18.17 (125) d Brisbane Lions 14.10 (94) at the Gabba
R6, 2011, Richmond 18.16 (124) d Brisbane Lions 14.14 (98) at the MCG
R13, 2010, Richmond 15.15 (105) d Brisbane Lions 12.14 (86) at the Gabba

1. Richmond won the most recent contest between the two clubs at the MCG by 23 points, but destroyed the Lions in most statistical categories. They won disposals (424-296), scoring shots (25-15) and inside-50s (55-44).

2. No team has had less inside-50s so far in 2014 than the Lions, averaging just 40.7 per game; Richmond is ninth with 51 per game.

3. The Lions' greatest winning margin over Richmond is 77 points in round 20, 1995 at the Gabba, while the Tigers' biggest win is 82 points twice, in 1990 and again in 2006.

4. One area the Tigers have been strong so far in 2014 is clearances. They are ranked second in the League with 45.2 per game, while the Lions are 10th with 39.2 per game.

5. The clubs have met 16 times at the Gabba for eight wins apiece. Richmond has won the past four clashes.

6. With a full-time midfield role, Lion Tom Rockliff is racing up the Official AFL Player Ratings. With another 31 touches last weekend against Port Adelaide, Rockliff has risen to no.55 overall.

Prediction: Richmond by 21 points