Lions to take Dockers seriously - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions to take Dockers seriously

By Laine Clark 07/06/2008 12:48:17 PM Comments (0)

A Gabba wag asked Brisbane Lions forward Daniel Bradshaw this week if the gameplan was to trail Fremantle by a goal or two at the start of the fourth quarter in their AFL clash on Sunday.

The Dockers' now record run of fadeouts may have made them the butt of jokes.

But the Lions hardly think the unlucky Fremantle side is a laughing stock.

Brisbane have won three straight to move to seventh place at 6-4 - their most promising start since being slapped with the dreaded "rebuilding" tag in the wake of their amazing premiership run.

It has the likes of former champion skipper Michael Voss talking "premiership windows" for the Lions.

But Lions coach Leigh Matthews says statistics show how easily it could have been Fremantle cruising at 6-4 leading into their weekend Gabba clash.

"We've lost four games and have an 18 point losing average margin. They have lost nine and have an 18 point losing average margin - they have been in every game," said Matthews who becomes only the eighth person in the game's history to reach the 450 game mark on Sunday.

"Of teams that have won just one game in their first 10 their percentage is higher than anyone else who has done that since the mid-1940s.

"They are 1-9 but they have played better than that."

But of course the AFL ladder still shows Fremantle at second last - and the record books provide even nastier reading for Dockers fans.

Fremantle have now claimed the AFL record for choking after leading their last five games at the start of the fourth quarter, only to lose them all.

Thus the jibes that could be heard on the other side of the country at Bradshaw's press conference this week.

It would have been easy for Bradshaw to laugh when asked the cheeky question about trailing Freo at three quarter time to ensure victory.

Instead he defended them.

"I think they have been travelling pretty well," he said sincerely.

Matthews agreed.

"It's the glass half full or empty. They have done well enough to be in front at three-quarter time against five pretty reasonable teams but done badly enough that they have not been able to finish them off," he said.

"Everyone is taking note of the final score but you've got to do pretty well to be in front at three quarter time - but of course everyone looks at the glass half empty."

A string of losses is bound to deflate a team but Matthews does not expect the likes of Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich - much maligned for some erratic fourth quarter kicks - to arrive depressed.

"Everyone is referring to the fact that he has had a couple of shots late in games, hit the post, missed one last week, people only remember minor incidents," Matthews said.

"I don't know how he is statistically. All I know is that he is the player most likely to take the game away from us and win the game for Freo -has been and remains so."

Another statistic is not kind to Fremantle - they have never won in Queensland, a run of six straight losses since 1997.

Which makes them all the more dangerous according to co-captain Jonathan Brown.

"We have to be very careful here. We can't be complacent," said Brown who has been cleared of a knee injury.

Lions defender Josh Drummond (hamstring) has also been cleared to play.

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