Merrett inspires big Lions win over GWS
A career-best seven-goal haul for Daniel Merrett. A 92-point AFL win. A three-game losing streak snapped.
There were plenty of reasons for the Brisbane Lions to start backslapping at the Gabba on Sunday.
But stony faced Lions coach Michael Voss kept their 19.18 (132) to 5.10 (40) thumping of depleted rookies Greater Western Sydney in front of 16,049 in perspective.
Voss was already feeling anxious after questions were raised about his long term job security following a horror run of nine wins in his last 47 games.
But his nerves would have been shot if reminded that the Lions had a shocking record against first year sides.
Unbelievably, Brisbane had lost to West Coast in 1987, Adelaide in 1991, Fremantle in 1995, Port Adelaide in 1997 and the Gold Coast last year.
However, Voss could not even admit to feeling relieved after Merrett’s remarkable five-goal opening quarter burst helped seal only their third win of the year.
Lions skipper Jonathan Brown kicked five majors.
“Not really. It was about getting the job done,” Voss said.
“We were a bit damned if you do, damned if you don’t – we were expected to come out here and win the game and healthily.
“It was about putting some things into place that we had just let go in recent weeks – mainly our defence.”
No wonder Voss was keeping a lid on things – the Lions’ victory marked their first this year against a side that had registered a win.
At least Merrett could manage a smile after easily eclipsing his previous best of three goals and finally answering the critics calling for him to return to his regular position at fullback.
“It was coming off the boot pretty well – I thought I would make the most of it,” said Merrett who had a career haul of 24 majors before the match.
The sight of carrot-topped Merrett getting a bagful wasn’t the only reason Giants coach Kevin Sheedy saw red.
“We had been really competitive, really hard at the 50-50 balls but we weren’t like that today,” said Sheedy, who just last week was ecstatic after an upset win over Gold Coast.
“I didn’t feel we put a quarter together today – like our poor loss against North Melbourne (129-point round two defeat) which is very annoying.”
The Giants blooded their 25th first game player on Sunday and their cause was not helped by the loss of Adam Kennedy, Liam Sumner, Jacob Townsend (injury), Devon Smith, Tom Bugg and Dylan Shiel (rested).
And the trip to Brisbane marked their seventh different venue in eight weeks.
But Sheedy was making no excuses.
Instead he looked forward to next round’s long awaited clash with his former team Essendon.
“Of course. And it will be our first game in our own stadium so that’s a very special occasion,” he said.© AAP 2013
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