Rookie Voss already playing mind games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rookie Voss already playing mind games

By Laine Clark 27/03/2009 09:12:49 PM Comments (0)

It seems rookie Brisbane Lions mentor Michael Voss is warming to the AFL coaching caper.

He is yet to make his official AFL coaching debut but already Voss appears to be playing mind games ahead of the season opener against West Coast Eagles at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Voss kept the Eagles coaching staff guessing by insisting that underdone Brownlow Medalist Simon Black would play - and recovering No.1 ruckman Jamie Charman might yet run out.

It would be fair to say midfielder Black, 30 next month, has had a horror pre-season.

But despite being forced to overcome groin, ankle and back injuries, a broken wrist and a bout of gastroenteritis, Black has still been named in the starting side against the Eagles.

Voss said Black would be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for the AFL opener even though he has not played a 2009 pre-season game.

"He's made himself available so there's no reason why he wouldn't play," Voss said on Friday.

"I'd like him to (play the full match). Obviously he adds a fair bit of polish to your team but realistically you can't expect him to come out and dominate.

"He has an influence on the game in a different way."

Voss added further intrigue by failing to rule out that Charman would run out against the Eagles.

Charman - a 2003 premiership player - is not officially on the Lions injury list after overcoming a knee complaint.

He was considered a certainty for the Gabba showdown after gaining a special clearance - along with fullback Daniel Merrett - to make a low-key return in the AFLQ state league last weekend.

Yet Charman was surprisingly named as an emergency player while recovering vice-captains Black (hand) and Merrett (quad) appeared to win their race against time to be named in a team that also boasts boom draftee Daniel Rich.

"With round one we've got to make sure that we've got everyone fit," Voss said when asked about Charman's availability.

"The guys that we make sure that we put out there tomorrow we know are all going to be fit."

If Charman is ruled out, his understudy Matthew Leuenberger will line up against West Coast's All-Australian ruckman Dean Cox.

But Voss has the luxury of rotating Mitch Clark between the forward line and ruck.

However, Eagles assistant coach Peter Sumich on Friday hoped that Voss wasn't indulging in mind games when asked if Charman would play.

"That will be interesting to see. The final call on whether Charman goes in might depend on the weather," he said.

"I wouldn't think that Vossy is playing mind games. He is probably just waiting on the weather, whether it is going to be wet or dry."

By rights, Voss should be part of the Eagles coaching staff this weekend.

Voss initially signed on as an Eagles assistant before the stars aligned at his beloved Brisbane following the Lions' premiership-winning coach Leigh Matthews' shock decision to walk away last year.

But Sumich did not think that gave Voss an advantage over the Eagles ahead of their season opener.

"I think he will go very well as a coach. The quality person that he presently shows, I know that was why (Eagles head coach) John (Worsfold) was chasing him early on.

"But I don't think he was there long enough to get too much inside information."

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