FRESH from their first win of the season against St Kilda, the Brisbane Lions might not be the pushover they looked a fortnight ago. The return of veterans Daniel Merrett and Andrew Raines, the continued strong form of champion Jonathan Brown, and the sizzling young brigade led by Rising Star nominee James Aish were major factors in the win, and have given reason for optimism at the Lions. However, the Swans seem to be slowly clicking into gear. The prospect of facing Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett and Adam Goodes in the same forward line is enough to make any opposition cringe. The Swans have been below their best so far in 2014, but should have enough firepower to win this one.
WHERE AND WHEN: Gabba, Saturday May 3, 7.40pm AEST
LAST FIVE TIMES
R6, 2013, Sydney Swans 17.13 (115) d Brisbane Lions 8.7 (55) at the SCG
R15, 2012, Sydney Swans 16.14 (110) d Brisbane Lions 9.9 (63) at the SCG
R24, 2011, Sydney Swans 18.11 (119) d Brisbane Lions 9.13 (67) at the SCG
R11, 2011, Sydney Swans 17.14 (116) d Brisbane Lions 7.9 (51) at the Gabba
R22, 2010, Sydney Swans 16.10 (106) d Brisbane Lions 10.8 (68) at the Gabba
THE SIX POINTS
1. The Swans hold a 26-21 head-to-head record against the Lions, with one draw. The Lions have not won since round 22, 2009.
2. The Lions have struggled to score in 2014, ranked 17th with just 69 points a game. The Swans are faring little better, ranked 14th with 80 points a game.
3. One area in which the Lions have been competitive so far is clearances, where they are ranked sixth with an average of 40.3 a game. The Swans are languishing in 12th (37.7 a game).
4. The biggest haul of goals kicked in clashes between the clubs is 11 by former champion Swans full-forward Tony Lockett in round nine, 1996 at the SCG.
5. No team has taken fewer marks inside 50 in 2014 than Brisbane, with just 41, while the Swans are ninth with 64.
6. Swans midfielder Dan Hannebery has jumped to a career high in the Official AFL Player Ratings. His 34 disposals against Melbourne last week launched him to 422 points, ranked No.74 overall.
Prediction: Sydney Swans by 19 points