Lions dare to dream of AFL finals
The “f” word on Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss’s mind earlier this season was not “finals”.
Indeed Voss would have been forgiven for rattling off a few expletives after the Lions fell to a horror 2-5 AFL season start.
But just six games later Voss finds his Lions in the top eight mix after they thumped an injury-ravaged Melbourne by 61 points at the Gabba.
Skipper Jonathan Brown kicked four goals and Jack Redden (32 touches) led the Lions young brigade in the 18.14 (122) to 8.13 (61) triumph in front of 22,114.
It sealed back-to-back wins for Brisbane for the first time in 13 months after they had enjoyed another rare treat – the “favourites” tag.
And it capped a 4-2 run that ensured Brisbane (6-7 record) were a win outside of the eight with the same record as the more fancied Carlton and Richmond.
“I think the guys have done wonderfully to work their way back into the competition – we have put ourselves in that mix,” Voss said of their finals chances.
“If that’s what motivates the guys then good on them but it is not something we focus a hell of a lot of energy on.
“We are still evolving. We have a hell of a lot to work on…(but) as a footy club we are in a good place.”
Ryan Harwood, Tom Rockliff (both 29 touches), Redden and Irishman Pearce Hanley (24 disposals, three goals) led a young Lions brigade that have Brown finally believing in a September tilt again.
Brown – who had 24 touches and 12 marks – said they had been buzzing since their round 10 upset over then leaders West Coast.
“Beating the top side is something that hasn’t happened for probably two to three years,” he said.
“That gave us the belief they were the ones to carry the team in big games and top class opposition – we got a hell of a lot of confidence from that game.
“It is exciting to see as a veteran of the group to see that development.”
Demons stars Nathan Jones and Mark Jamar (both calf) were late withdrawals, joining an injury list that already included Aaron Davey and ex-Lion Mitch Clark.
And Rising Star nominee, young defender Tom McDonald, was subbed off in the first quarter after coughing up blood following an accidental knee from Lions forward Daniel Merrett.
He was in a stable condition in hospital when his team finished the game.
“He’s got bleeding of the lungs – he will be in Brisbane for a while,” Demons coach Mark Neeld said.
“He can’t fly with the team but obviously our concern is his long term health.
“Reports coming back from the hospital are that he will be okay.
“He will be sore for a while and we will just monitor that.”© AAP 2013