AFL Round 18 action continues on Saturday night with Brisbane taking on Carlton at the Gabba. It's an important team for both teams and for completely different reasons and it should make for excellent viewing.
As always, we have you covered with our preview and best bets for this big Saturday night clash below and remember to check out our AFL Round 18 Betting Tips page for our dedicated preview for every game across the weekend.
Gabba, Saturday 7:40pm (AEST)
The Lions are chasing the minor premiership and a win would put the pressure on Port Adelaide, while the young Carlton side are looking to bring momentum into their off-season.
Brisbane found themselves in a tight duel against Sydney in their most recent outing, but were able to get on top late in the fourth quarter to secure another valuable win. They've now locked in a top two spot and will host at least two home finals at the Gabba. It could truly become an historic year for the Lions and football in Queensland with potential for Lachie Neale winning the Brownlow and a Grand Final on their doorstep.
One of the Lions great strengths is their unpredictability in their forward line due to having so many goal scoring threats. However, a staple on the score sheet for a while now has been Charlie Cameron. The superstar small forward started the season on fire with 19 goals from his opening nine matches, but then had a lean patch where he kicked just two goals over a five game stretch, mainly due to some ongoing knee soreness. Cameron looks to have his zip back at the right time, kicking multiple goals in his last two games and looks great odds to continue on with it this weekend.
Carlton's extremely poor starts continue to hurt them and that was the case again last weekend against Adelaide. The Blues have now given up four five-goal leads in the first quarter this season, which is double the next worst in the competition and is a huge reason why they won't be playing finals in 2020. Regardless, the Blues have certainly taken a couple of steps forward this year and have plenty of young players they can build around.
There's been a number of big name players that have announced their retirement from football over the past couple of weeks, one of which is Blues champion, Kade Simpson. He's come a long way since his humble beginning where he failed to collect a disposal in the first three games of his career. Simpson turned himself into a ball magnet across half back and can still rack them up 36 years old. He may only be averaging a tick over 15 a game this season, but in his final game he'll be hunting the ball and his teammates will be hunting him to make sure he gets the send off he deserves.
The home team has had nearly all the success in this matchup over the past decade with 11 wins from 14 matches, including wins in each of the last six. The Lions have hosted the majority of those matches and have been particularly dominate in their past two games as host, defeating the Blues by 30 points (R18 2017) and 65 points (R16 2018).
The Blues have improved quite a bit from the past couple of seasons, but are still a long way off matching the Lions at the Gabba. Expect a competitive match that ends in a relatively comfortable win for the home side.
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