Lions' 'Beast' mounts case for Suns clash

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Rhys Mathieson's presence was felt in a rare AFL outing against GWS but the likely return of Brisbane's cavalry means he could again be squeezed out of the side to face Gold Coast.

Mathieson lived up to his "Beast Mode" nickname with 23 disposals, a career-high 10 clearances and seven free kicks earned in the Lions' impressive defeat of the Giants.

Dominant VFL form hasn't helped Mathieson's case, with the 25-year-old playing just 20 AFL games through the past three seasons while stuck behind Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale, captain Dayne Zorko and the consistent Jarryd Lyons.

Wowed by Mathieson's performance against the Giants, coach Chris Fagan admitted post-game they should have called on him sooner.

But with Zorko, Jarrod Berry and Daniel Rich likely to return to face the Suns on Saturday and their COVID-19 casualty list dwindling, Mathieson is again not assured of a spot in Fagan's 22.

Teammates appreciated what he brought against the Giants, though, in a performance teammate Lincoln McCarthy described as a template that would serve Brisbane well later this season.

"Have you seen the size of the bloke? He's a big boy," McCarthy told reporters.

"He spends a lot of time in the gym. I think he's got a real presence about him.

"We all love being around him both on field and off field.

"It was really beneficial to have someone that big and strong in there.

"But that doesn't mean it's going to happen every week and that's what we love about Rhys, he's the same bloke whether he's getting picked or not."

The Suns (8-9) must win to remain in the hunt for a maiden finals berth while the Lions (12-5) have traded wins and losses in their last eight games but still sit third in a congested race for the top four.

"Gold Coast have really pushed forward with their footy," McCarthy said.

"We've got to stay desperate ... we haven't been able to get that next win after a good win.

"So we're really determined to stick to that feeling of desperation."

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