With the AFL season coming towards an end and the top four starting to take shape, the Lions have yet again been terrific after a super 2019.
But these last couple of weeks, especially more recently, have shown they have a few weak links in them. Here’s what they need to improve on for the last few games before finals.
Accuracy at goal This has been their biggest issue all season long – in fact I’ve never seen a team kick as many behinds as they have in an entire season. And these quarters are shorter than in past seasons!
This Lions team averages the second most inside 50s per game at 46.5 (604 total) behind only Port Adelaide and the equal most marks inside 50 per game at 10.8 with Geelong, and yet they have the most behinds per game by a country mile (12.2, second is 10.6), the lowest goal accuracy at 40.3 per cent and the highest shot efficiency at 51 per cent.
If I’m not mistaken, these are horrific, shocking and unbelievable figures for a team so high on the ladder. They’ve got extremely lucky these last few weeks, but if these figures don’t improve in the next few matches, it could be another straight-sets finals exit for the Brisbane Lions.
Ball use Another crucial aspect for any team who wants to go deep into the season is using the ball well. The Lions have improved that part of their game since Chris Fagan took over, but it still isn’t good enough to beat any finals team.
Of the top-eight teams the Lions have the lowest disposal efficiency per game at 70.2 per cent, the seventh-worst in the whole league. This team also averages the third-fewest disposals at 283.2, the fourth-fewest uncontested possessions at 160.6 and the third-most kicks per game at 183.7 behind only Geelong and West Coast.
In fact they’ve beaten only four teams in games at disposal efficiency. Yes, that includes Port Adelaide, but that was at the Gabba. Imagine if that game had been at Adelaide Oval. If this continues to drop rather than improve for the next few games as well, say goodbye to grand final aspirations yet again.
Finishing games I know they’ve won their last two games by two points and one point, but they still haven’t been able to add the icing on the cake at the end of each – in fact they’ve got pretty darn lucky.
Ever since the thrashing they gave Essendon just over three weeks ago they haven’t won the crucial categories in the last quarter. They’ve averaged only 64.25 disposals, conceded 84.75 each last quarter, rack up 9.5 inside 50s while conceding 12.5 inside 50s the last quarter and have kicked only four goals while conceding 11 majors.
This is just absolutely poor. Yes, three of those opponents are top-eight teams, but they did that against a not-so-great North Melbourne. They need to learn to finish off games, much like they did for most of last season, otherwise it’s good night grand final chances.
Despite the fact they’re second on the ladder and are behind only the Power on percentage, the Lions still aren’t good enough to be the team to beat and a genuine grand final contender this season. And if the three categories previously mentioned don’t improve, then there’s no way that they deserve to play a grand final.