Lions face tough time in defence in AFL
Brisbane’s Irish recruit Niall McKeever is getting a first-hand look at how match-winning forwards operate in the AFL and his education will continue on Saturday night against St Kilda.
Sydney’s emerging star Sam Reid booted six goals last week at the SCG on 18-gamer McKeever.
And this week, the 23-year-old could find himself on Nick Riewoldt, who kicked four majors in a tremendous performance against Essendon last week that included 24 disposals and 11 marks.
Brisbane key defender Matt Maguire’s sore elbow could mean McKeever gets the big job on four-time All-Australian Riewoldt.
We’re going to do better on not making the ball come down as good,” Brisbane wingman Pearce Hanley said on Wednesday.
“We’ve put things in play that’ll help Niall. I’m sure Niall will get up for the game if he’s on Riewoldt.
“He was obviously a bit upset about his performance (against Reid) although he didn’t get much help, so he couldn’t help it too much.
“He’s a very good character, he’ll bounce back and he’ll come back stronger without doubt.”
Last week’s 47-point loss to the Swans was the Lions’ eighth defeat from 14 matches and puts them in 13th spot and needing a large slice of luck to reach the finals.
The Saints (7-7) are in excellent form after upsetting Essendon by 71 points, but the Lions have beaten Greater Western Sydney, West Coast and Melbourne in their past three games at the Gabba.
“The crowds have been getting bigger as the year’s gone on. They’ve been pretty loud,” Hanley told the afl.com.au website.
The Saints are second for points scored in the AFL this season under new coach Scott Watters, with Riewoldt and Stephen Milne contributing a combined 70 goals.
Ruck/forward Justin Koschitzke (21 goals) and this week’s Rising Star nominee Arryn Siposs are also proving dangerous.
“Individually, I think we tried very hard but, as a team, we didn’t defend too well (against the Swans),” Hanley said.
“We’ve gone over it in the meetings and, hopefully, we improve it on the weekend.
“They’ve (St Kilda) got a lot of dangerous forwards. Our plan is to try and stop it a bit more at the source and not let it get inside 50 as much.”