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‘Gabbatoir’ could decide Dogs’ finals fate

Plenty has changed since Jason Johannisen last played at the Gabba, where a resurgent Brisbane could make or break the Western Bulldogs' finals chances this weekend.

Sunday's game is a must-win for the Bulldogs, who sit ninth on the ladder amid half a dozen teams chasing a finals berth.

The Dogs trail eighth-placed Adelaide only on percentage but are just four points clear of Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Fremantle and St Kilda.

Jason Johannisen of the Western Bulldogs fends off Melbourne's Harrison Petty in round 17.

Jason Johannisen of the Western Bulldogs fends off Melbourne's Harrison Petty in round 17.Credit:AAP

Johannisen hasn't played at the Gabba in almost four years, having been a late withdrawal for the Bulldogs' last visit in 2017.

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Back then, the Lions were easybeats on their home deck, where they posted just 10 wins and 34 losses between 2015 and 2018.

The tables have turned this season.

Brisbane have lost just once – to Collingwood in round 5 – from eight games at the Gabba, and they sit third on the ladder.

Their form resurgence has also bumped crowds up, creating an atmosphere that Johannisen likened to West Coast's Optus Stadium fortress.

"They're getting some record crowds up there," he said.

"It's definitely (becoming) like with West Coast when you go over there. The crowd really gets into it and it's a hard venue to play at.

"They're the most in-form team in the competition. They're playing some really good footy.

"In saying that, we did beat them earlier in the year. Obviously it was in Ballarat. This week's going to be much different conditions.

"We know they're going to be a massive challenge but we're up for it."

Johannisen noted the Lions had few weaknesses, with Brownlow Medal frontrunner Lachie Neale firing in the midfield and damaging talls at both ends of the ground.

He said Zaine Cordy was likely to swing back to defence to replace Dale Morris, whose career is likely over after he suffered another ARead More – Source

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