Goodes a protected species: Matthews - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Goodes a protected species: Matthews

By Laine Clark 04/04/2008 03:34:38 PM Comments (0)

Rivalry round swung into full gear when Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews described Sydney's dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes as a "protected species" before Saturday night's Gabba clash.

Asked a seemingly innocuous question about who would play on the Swans danger man, Matthews made it clear what he thought of Goodes beating a striking charge at Wednesday's AFL Tribunal.

The not guilty verdict that allowed Goodes to line up for a club record-equalling 194th consecutive match clearly rubbed Matthews the wrong way.

"Many players are envious of Adam Goodes for many reasons. We hope that his protected species status ends when he comes over the white line," Matthews said in Brisbane.

"I don't know about the umpires (if he's a protected species), but (at) the tribunal he certainly is.

"And he plays for the Swans so he's got the double whammy.

"And he's got the dual Brownlow Medallist `get out of jail free' card so he's got them all."

Sydney - and particularly Goodes - don't need extra motivation to lift against the Lions.

The Swans have not been beaten by the Lions since round one, 2004.

And Goodes has polled eight Brownlow votes in his past four matches against them.

But Matthews sounded quietly confident before what has been billed as a State of Origin clash in Brisbane.

"They've done well on us for the last four years but things change, things evolve," he said.

Asked why Sydney have been Brisbane's bogey team, Matthews said: "They've beaten our midfield, Barry Hall has always played quite well on us and Jonathan Brown has rarely played."

Then there's that man Goodes.

"He's done really well against us so I guess what we have done in the past hasn't worked fantastically," Matthews said.

"Maybe that is one of the reasons why we haven't had a good winning record against them - he's played well against us."

Troy Selwood has done well to shut down Goodes in the past but Matthews opted for Robert Copeland to replace injured defender Josh Drummond (quad) in his 22 for the Gabba clash.

Matthews said he would rotate players on Goodes but that's as specific as he got with his plans for Saturday night.

"How we go about that (stopping Goodes) is what people come to the footy to find out," he said with a smile.

The Lions have talked up their midfield depth this season and believe it is an area where they can finally match the Swans.

The likes of Jared Brennan, Jed Adcock, Michael Rischitelli and Albert Proud have joined proven onballers Simon Black, Nigel Lappin and Luke Power in the midfield rotation this season.

"You need 10 guys in the middle, we've got a handful who have been All Australian midfielders and the other five or six haven't necessarily been," Matthews said.

"But they need equal time in there. They've got to be able to do the job when it is their turn."

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