The Gunston Effect – Can Jack Head Down Back?

The Brisbane Lions face something of a do-or-die scenario in Round Two, which on the surface, kind of seems ridiculous, I know.

The season is a long one and whilst much is made of how a team starts the year, a run in the middle of the season can mean just as much to ladder positions as a fast start. Every game is worth the same. We all love the early four points as teams establish themselves as contenders, but as long as the wins come at some point, all is well, right?

Brisbane would want to hope so.

Fancied as a flag threat in the preseason, the Lions bolstered their lineup with the addition of Josh Dunkley in the middle to aid Lachie Neale, and Jack Gunston up forward to cover for the loss of Daniel McStay. On the surface, these moves looked like game-changers for the Lions, who added more bite to a team that was already one of the best offensive sides in the competition.

However, the loss of Marcus Adams to the lingering effects of a 2022 concussion seemed to set the cat amongst the pigeons, with Brisbane suddenly appearing to be short of quality tall defenders outside Harris Andrews. Adams was a revelation in 2022. After moving from the Western Bulldogs for the 2019 season, he was somewhat of a slow burn at Brisbane before finding his feet over the last two years. He emerged as a high-quality backup to the star defender, Andrews, and permitted players like Darcy Gardner or Ryan Lester to play roles more commensurate with their skill set.


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