Matthews talks up Lions' AFL attack - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Matthews talks up Lions' AFL attack

By Roger Vaughan 13/06/2008 07:27:59 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane are well-equipped to emulate the Western Bulldogs by spreading the goalkicking workload in their AFL clash at the MCG, Lions coach Leigh Matthews says.

One of the key reasons for Brisbane's improvement this season has been the deadly duet of Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw in attack.

But Bradshaw is out with a hamstring injury for Saturday's match, which will pit the third-placed Bulldogs against the seventh-placed Lions.

Brisbane have won their last four games, making them one of the league's most in-form sides, and Matthews is talking up his forwards' ability to share around the scoring responsibility.

"We've won our last four and (but) for a handful of those, both our big forwards were dominant," Matthews said.

"What has been pleasing is that we seem to be able to kick our 10 or 12 goals outside our big forwards.

"A couple of times there, when Brown and Bradshaw got a dozen, we still got nine or 10 from the others - last week that happened too.

"That's important, to be able to generate a score without your marking forwards kicking 90 per cent of it."

He said Mitch Clark, Jared Brennan and the resting ruckmen would take on extra responsibility in attack with Bradshaw out of the side.

The Bulldogs' ability to share around the goalkicking is well-documented and 12 of their players have kicked 10 goals or more this season.

"They've got a lot of those six-foot goalkickers which makes them very flexible, very dangerous," Matthews said.

The Bulldogs will also welcome back forward Robert Murphy from a week's suspension.

Murphy kicked no goals in his last match, against Hawthorn, but he was one of the Bulldogs' best as they scored an outstanding win in Launceston.

Now they will play at the MCG for the first time this season and Murphy said it will be "almost a neutral venue".

Even though the Lions have also not played at the ground since late last year, Matthews is enthusiastic about the venue.

The Lions, of course, won three consecutive grand finals at the MCG from 2001-03 and last year belted Collingwood there by 93 points.

A fortnight later, Hawthorn beat them at the ground by four goals.

"We've played well there, fortunately - not only the few years (before). Last year we had a terrific win there against Collingwood, we were pretty competitive against Hawthorn in the middle of the year," he said.

"We go to the MCG with quite good vibes as a group, the majority of the guys playing tomorrow would have been there a few times."

After wins against Carlton, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Fremantle over the last month, Brisbane now face two mid-season games that may define their season.

After the Western Bulldogs, they will host fourth-placed Adelaide.

"It's a great chance for us to come to the MCG and play a top-four team - that's a great challenge," Matthews said.

"There's a lot hanging on the end of tomorrow's game and we're in pretty good form, preparations have been good, so we're in good shape for the challenge.

"We've been playing sides that have, in a way, been around us.

"We're now playing two sides who are above us, so yep, it's going to be a challenge."

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