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Stingy Cats banking on defence holding up against free-scoring Lions

The Cats and Lions haven't met since round 19 last year - AFL,Geelong Cats,Chris Scott
The Cats and Lions haven't met since round 19 last year

WHO HAS the edge when the AFL's best defence comes up against the best offence in a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash?

Geelong coach Chris Scott believes the battle inside his side's defensive 50 could be pivotal in the showdown for top spot.

The Cats head to the Gabba boasting the league's meanest defence, spearheaded by renovated defender Mark Blicavs.

Geelong has conceded 1326 points this season, 161 fewer than next-best Hawthorn.

In Queensland, they'll confront the competition's best attack.

The Lions have hit the ton eight times this season, including one of the year's best scores - 22.12 (144) - last weekend against Gold Coast.

"It's a big test. They've won eight in a row playing a really good offensive brand of football," Scott said.

"When they get the momentum they clearly play a style that is hard to stop.

"But at our best we've defended pretty well.

"The game's more complicated than just our defence versus their offence but it's going to be a central part of it."

Two of those attackers – Allen Christensen and Lincoln McCarthy – Scott knows from time at Geelong.

 

Christensen played under Scott for four seasons, including their 2011 premiership success.

The 28-year-old requested a trade north in 2015, later opening up on a gambling addiction that led to his move.

After spending much of the first half of the season in the NEAFL, Christensen has played the past eight matches – all wins – and booted a handy 12 goals

McCarthy, 25, was traded to the Lions after a period of soul-searching last year.

The South Australian was drafted by Geelong in 2011 but played just 29 games in seven injury-plagued seasons.

 

He told the AFL Players Association website he considered retirement after feeling like "dead wood" at the Cats.

"I wasn't able to get on the park. I had consistent thoughts of, 'I can't wait to work in construction or be a builder.' It made me spend a lot of time thinking about what I was doing," he said.

Scott said no one at Geelong begrudged McCarthy, who has found fitness to play in all of Brisbane's matches this season, a second chance.

"It's not a great thing for Geelong this week but there's not a person at this footy club that doesn't love Linc," Scott said.

"It was hard to see him leave. We didn't want to see him go.

"But the proof is in the pudding, it's been a good reset for him."

Scott said he rated the entire Brisbane forward line, led by Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood, as well as his ex-players.

"Hopefully we didn't help them too much," he said.

He backed Blicavs and his defenders to take the fight to the red-hot Lions.

"I'd be surprised if he's not the All Australian key defender along with Harris Andrews who we come up against this week. That's as hard as I advocate for anyone," Scott said.