Brisbane players celebrate after downing Geelong.
Brisbane players celebrate after downing Geelong.

How the Lions can secure a home final

THE Brisbane Lions sit a game clear on top of the ladder after their stirring win against Geelong on Saturday with one round left, and top four - with at least a home semi-final - is assured.

But with a tough trip to the MCG against Richmond to come, a home final in week one is yet to be guaranteed.

Here's all the scenarios of what could play out in the final round of the 2019 season.

IF LIONS BEAT TIGERS

(Most likely to least likely)

v Collingwood at the Gabba: if Collingwood defeats Essendon and West Coast defeats Hawthorn

v Richmond at the Gabba: if Essendon defeats Collingwood and West Coast defeats Hawthorn OR Essendon defeats Collingwood and Hawthorn defeats West Coast (and West Coast keeps a higher percentage over Richmond)

v West Coast at the Gabba: if Collingwood defeats Essendon and Hawthorn defeats West Coast (and West Coast keep a higher percentage over Richmond) OR Essendon defeats Collingwood and Hawthorn defeats West Coast (and Richmond's percentage jumps West Coast's)

The Lions hosting the Magpies or Tigers in the first week of finals is the most likely fixture should Brisbane beat Richmond next week. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
The Lions hosting the Magpies or Tigers in the first week of finals is the most likely fixture should Brisbane beat Richmond next week. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

v Geelong at the Gabba: if West Coast defeat Hawthorn and Carlton defeat Geelong (and West Coast's percentage jumps Brisbane's)

IN A NUTSHELL: If the Lions can upset the Tigers away from home, they're guaranteed top spot and the minor premiership. All aboard the Lions bandwagon!

IF TIGERS BEAT LIONS

(Most likely to least likely)

v West Coast at the Gabba: if Geelong defeats Carlton and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and both West Coast and Brisbane keep a higher percentage over Richmond) OR if Essendon defeats Collingwood, Carlton defeats Geelong, and Hawthorn defeats West Coast

v West Coast at Perth Stadium: if Geelong defeats Carlton and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and West Coast's percentage jumps Brisbane's) OR if Carlton defeats Geelong and West Coast defeat Hawthorn (and West Coast's percentage jumps Brisbane's)

v Geelong at the Gabba: if Carlton defeats Geelong and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and Brisbane keeps a higher percentage over West Coast and Richmond)

The Lions could still lock up second place with a loss to the Tigers. They just can’t lose by too much. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
The Lions could still lock up second place with a loss to the Tigers. They just can’t lose by too much. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

v Richmond at the Gabba: if Geelong defeats Carlton and Hawthorn defeats West Coast OR if Geelong defeats Carlton and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and Richmond's percentage jumps West Coast's, but not Brisbane's) OR if Carlton defeats Geelong and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and West Coast's percentage jumps Brisbane's)

v Richmond at the MCG: if Geelong defeats Carlton and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and Richmond's percentage jumps both Brisbane's and West Coast's)

v Geelong at the MCG: if Geelong defeats Carlton and West Coast defeats Hawthorn (and both Richmond and West Coast's percentages jump Brisbane's)

v Collingwood at the Gabba: if Collingwood defeats Essendon, Carlton defeats Geelong, and Hawthorn defeats West Coast

IN A NUTSHELL: Percentage plays a huge part if they lose and with a headstart on both the Tigers and Eagles, finishing in second is still the most likely result. However, a big loss to the Tigers leaves the Lions open to slipping down below the Eagles (should they beat Hawthorn in Perth), and below Richmond as well if the loss is big enough. About a 40-point loss to the Tigers, and a 40-point win to the Eagles, would see those two teams switch positions and have the Lions travelling to Perth.

Lions players leave the field after their most recent MCG game. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett
Lions players leave the field after their most recent MCG game. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

ANDREW HAMILTON'S ANALYSIS

Richmond were Brisbane's greatest ally on Sunday - as of tomorrow they become their biggest foe.

The Tigers' nail bitting six point win over West Coast at the MCG ensured the Lions would go into the final round a game clear on top of the AFL ladder.

Geelong, West Coast and Richmond are all tied in second place.

The Lions can claim the minor premiership with victory over the Tigers at the MCG on Sunday but even more importantly is the chance to secure a home final in week one with a top two finish.

If the Lions' stunning one point victory over Geelong and the Tigers' thriller over the reigning premiers at the MCG proved one thing it was how important a home final could be.

Brisbane's healthy percentage means they can finish top two even if they lose and Geelong, West Coast and Richmond all win in Round 23, but only if they are competitive and the game is close.

And to do that they will have to reverse recent history at the MCG which has been a graveyard for the club.

Their most recent visit to the home of footy was a 47-point loss to Essendon in Round 4.

Last year was worse - they kicked just two goals in a 97-point drubbing by the Tigers.

The Lions have superior percentage to Richmond and West Coast while Geelong are a healthy 12 percentage points above the Lions.

Geelong play Carlton at home on Saturday and West Coast host Hawthorn in Perth on Sunday - both will be heavy favourites.

If they both win the live ladder on Sunday will be fascinating viewing.

News Corp Australia


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