I failed complacent Lions, says Matthews - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I failed complacent Lions, says Matthews

By Laine Clark 30/06/2008 07:16:17 PM Comments (0)

A brutally honest Leigh Matthews said Monday he sensed his Lions were complacent before their shock AFL loss to lowly Melbourne but "failed" to snap them out of it.

The coach was Monday still shaking his head over Brisbane's woeful one-point loss to the cellar dwellers at the MCG on Sunday.

He said he saw the warning but his voice had been lost among the players' back-slapping family and friends.

Asked if he could tell the players were getting ahead of themselves before the match, Matthews said: "Oh yeah, because you've been around the block a few times.

"I mean what we do internally is only one small influence on the players' psyche, unfortunately."

But a frustrated Matthews still blamed himself for failing to snap the Lions out of their complacency.

"Basically what would have happened last week was everybody thought it was like a foregone conclusion," he said.

"Everybody who would have spoken to players - family, friends - would have been `Oh beauty, you play Melbourne, you'll beat them and then you'll have a week off, that'll be good'.

"And you sort of know it. And I just failed in my task of trying to, you know.....

"You try (to snap them out of it) but sometimes you're only one voice in the wilderness."

A victory would have boosted the Lions' top four hopes but they now have an 8-6 record to be tied for sixth.

The Lions have a weekend bye before taking on another desperate team, Essendon, on July 12 at Telstra Dome.

Matthews hoped they learned a valuable lesson before tackling the Bombers.

"As much as you sometimes learn the same lesson over and over again, every now and again they get reinforced and they're fresh," he said.

"And the message from yesterday is that (if) the opposition turn up with higher energy and higher urgency than you, you'll probably lose, it doesn't matter who you play."

Matthews was still cringing about what could be a costly loss as they battle for a top four berth.

"Most people who watch the game would have thought Melbourne looked like they wanted to win it more...that's what we're disappointed and embarrassed about," he said.

"I do my what-ifs. What could you have done different, but nonetheless, you try to learn from every experience and move on.

"But the bitterness of defeat is pretty heavy in our mouths for this day or two."

While grateful for the week's break to his players' battle weary bodies, Matthews conceded he would prefer the Lions could play this weekend in a bid to redeem themselves.

"Teams will go into that break with varying degrees of their last experience and our last experience hasn't been a very positive one."

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