Lions hope to crash Roos' home farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions hope to crash Roos' home farewell

01/08/2008 06:17:47 PM Comments (0)

The Brisbane Lions hope North Melbourne's snub of the Gold Coast comes back to haunt them in their vital AFL clash at Carrara on Saturday night.

The Kangaroos will say goodbye to their Gold Coast experiment, but many local fans will be lining up to say good riddance.

Despite huge cash incentives from the AFL, the Kangaroos last year decided against relocating to the tourist strip, which sparked the boo a roo campaign from Gold Coast fans, which could hand the Lions a crucial edge.

North have called the Gold Coast their second home the past two years, but their decision to commit to Melbourne for the future means Saturday night's game will be the last one they host in the region.

Lions coach Leigh Matthews said it would not feel a like a home game, but it might just be close enough to spark his stumbling troops, who have fallen to eighth after three losses from their past four games.

"Well it's not our home ground, but it's our home state," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"I know they'll be flying to the game, and we'll be driving.

"But it's always nice to have the home crowd support and I think there will probably be more (Brisbane supporters than Kangaroos supporters).

"And that always gives a bit of emotional stimulus to the players."

On the back of three straight wins, the Kangaroos are flying high in fifth spot, while the Lions now find themselves in a log-jam of six teams separated by just four points trying to sneak into the finals.

After a slick opening to 2008, the Lions have faltered in recent weeks, including disappointing losses to bottom-placed Melbourne and last week's final-quarter capitulation against Richmond.

It is likely the Lions will need to win three of their last five games to play finals for the first time since losing to Port Adelaide in the 2004 decider.

With Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs looming in the weeks ahead, Matthews stopped short of calling Saturday night's game a must-win, but said every match was taking on more importance in the run home.

"I don't know if it's a must-win," he said.

"If we win three games, then I guess we play finals, if we win five, then we definitely play.

"Having said that, the margin for error is getting greatly reduced.

"You would rather win now than be thinking, we'll know we've got to win our last three."

A number of narrow losses have some questioning the Lions' ability to go the distance and Matthews called on his players to go hard until the final siren.

"We've had a couple of games where if we had played better in the final minute we would have won, but we didn't, and we lost them," he said.

A win to North will increase the pressure on injury-ravaged Sydney for a spot in the top four, while a Lions win will help to keep a host of teams, including St Kilda, Richmond and Carlton, from surging past them in the race to the finals.

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