Lions primed to emerge as big Cats
BRISBANE livewire Allen Christensen will channel the premiership lessons from winning a flag with Geelong against his former club when the Cats head north for a likely finals rehearsal at The Gabba.
Only percentage separates the second-placed Lions from Geelong, who will in a season-first enter their clash as underdogs after a month of inconsistent performances.
The Cats look ripe for the Lions' picking after dropping two of their past five games and while Christensen will enter Saturday's table-topping clash full of confidence, he is wary of his former club's winning mentality.
"I guess it's pretty exciting to take them on like this," Christensen said.
"Obviously Geelong have had sustained success and we're still a developing team but we are where we are because the boys go out there and have a crack each week.
"Being at Brisbane's a little different because when I was at Geelong there were so many mature players and those guys had won premierships before.
"There weren't many younger guys there but here the list goes on."
Brisbane's young roster sparked plenty of debate last season but with the likes of Alex Witherden, Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry now boasting 50 games of experience, Christensen said the squad's youth and exposure at the top level had balanced out.
"Obviously there's heaps of young guys here but they've got enough experience across the board and everyone's been able to step in and play," Christensen said.
"Guys like Lachie (Neale), Lincoln (McCarthy), Marcus (Adams) and Charlie (Cameron) have been around a fair bit and obviously with Hodgey (Luke Hodge) and Jarryd (Lyons) on deck there's plenty of old heads around too."
Every one of those old heads needs to be screwed on tight for Brisbane to avoid another Easter Thursday-esque meltdown, with the Lions eager to avoid a repeat of their Round 5 loss to Collingwood.
But Chris Fagan's side has matured since then, as have their performances, and Christensen said toppling their biggest rival yet would simply come down to preparation.
"We'll keep it a pretty standard week, it's obviously been a pretty big build up we've gone in this week and just gone about our business, Christensen said.
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"The main difference between (Round 5) and now is we know the style we want to play and we know what works with us."
The Lions goalsneak also put to bed concerns over racial slurs directed at him online, saying last month's incident was behind him.
"The club was great with that stuff, knocked it on the head pretty quickly," he said.
"We take a stand and move on with our lives - it's the best way to handle that sort of stuff and you just can't let things like that dictate your day-to-day life."