Eagles conquer Lions in AFL clash at Gabba

By Laine Clark,

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    Speculation over Michael Voss’ future prompted Brisbane to issue a statement on Saturday denying their AFL coach was on borrowed time.

    But the Lions players appeared to make a statement of their own in support of their besieged mentor before going down swinging 17.6 (108) to 12.10 (82) to the West Coast Eagles at a wet Gabba.

    The lead changed four times early in the fourth term before four straight goals sealed the result for the Eagles (3-4 record).

    Voss arrived at the ground under renewed scrutiny after a newspaper report emerged on Saturday that the Lions would decide his future in eight weeks.

    The off-contract Voss reportedly had until round 15 to prove his worth.

    It prompted the Lions to issue a media release minutes after the opening bounce.

    “The Brisbane Lions have consistently stated that the club’s senior coaching position will not be reviewed until the end of the season,” Lions CEO Malcolm Holmes said.

    “As such, we will not be providing a running commentary on the matter.”

    But the Lions players also did their best to quell speculation with a spirited display.

    Still, the rumours might not go away soon with the Lions (2-5) facing a tough run until the reported round-15 deadline including clashes with heavyweights Essendon, Collingwood, Geelong and Hawthorn.

    Apart from the report, eyebrows were also raised by Voss’ decision to welcome Simon Black back from a knee injury by throwing him the substitute’s vest.

    However, it loomed as a masterstroke as the Brownlow Medallist quickly rattled off 12 disposals and a goal after emerging late in the third term.

    The Eagles led 4.2 (26) to 3.0 (18) at the first break but were sweating on the fitness of star ruckman Dean Cox after he was escorted off late in the opening term following a heavy fall.

    He returned in the second quarter to help West Coast hold onto a 7.2 (44) to 6.6 (42) halftime buffer.

    The visitors enjoyed a 14-point lead in the second term with three straight majors capped by a goal to star midfielder Luke Shuey, back from a corked calf.

    But the Lions narrowed the gap before the main break after a late Josh Kennedy hit earned a 50m penalty and gifted Dayne Zorko a goal.

    Scores were locked up 9.9 (63) to the Eagles’ 10.3 (63) at the final break after Lions ruckman Matthew Leuenberger grubbered through a crumbing goal.

    © AAP 2018

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