Lions lick wounds after mauling - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions lick wounds after mauling

By Laine Clark 15/06/2008 04:53:23 PM Comments (0)

It was a game that was supposed to show how far the Brisbane Lions had come.

But when the dust settled, they could only see lost ground.

Lions co-captain Jonathan Brown had said this weekend's AFL showdown with the in-form Western Bulldogs was a chance to gauge whether they were 2008 top four threats or "also-rans".

Suffice to say, Brown wouldn't have liked the answer.

A 63-point mauling by the Dogs on Saturday was the Lions' worst loss of the season.

After notching four straight wins last weekend, the Lions had romped to seventh place with a 7-4 record to be poised for a top-four run in the second half of the season.

Not a bad turnaround for a side that has not made the finals since 2004.

But after four big strides forward, the Lions have taken a huge step backwards, according to their mentor Leigh Matthews.

"All you do at the moment is try and get your win-loss ratio as high as you can and therefore every week you play is a chance to take a step forward or a step back - this (Bulldogs game) was a step back," Matthews said.

The Dogs kicked the last seven goals of the match to set up the 19.17 (131) to 10.8 (68) romp.

"They beat us at the things we're good at - they out-muscled us and out-ran us and were better with the ball in their hands, so it didn't leave a lot left for us to hang our hats on in the one-on-one contests," Matthews said.

"They made us look pretty poor and we haven't been going too bad.

"They out-muscled us in close and out-ran us out wide, so that's pretty much the hallmark of a good team."

Another worrying sign was the way the Lions seemed to wither under the big match limelight at the MCG.

"I don't think we as a team handled the pressure of it all - the pressure of the opposition, the pressure of the occasion, whatever, we just didn't," Matthews said.

Bulldogs midfielder Adam Cooney was best on ground with 37 possessions and two goals.

"We got smashed in the midfield and once they got it out to their blokes out wide and were able to set up their running game, it was pretty much a nightmare for us blokes down back," the Lions' Ash McGrath told reporters.

The absence of Daniel Bradshaw (hamstring) ensured a one dimensional Lions forward line but Brown still managed three goals.

"It was a bit of a one-man band in there. (But) you lick your wounds and Monday morning we're into next week and the Crows," Matthews said.

Brisbane will monitor the fitness of Bradshaw, Travis Johnstone (hamstring) and Michael Rischitelli (hip) in the lead-up to Saturday night's Gabba clash with Adelaide.

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