Voss comes 'full circle' at Gabba - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Voss comes 'full circle' at Gabba

By Laine Clark 10/04/2009 06:11:22 PM Comments (0)

Imitation may be the best form of flattery.

But it was hard to gauge who was flattered the most after the Brisbane Lions and Sydney shared the love ahead of Saturday night's AFL clash at the Gabba.

Lions coach Michael Voss admitted on Friday he wanted his rebuilding squad to emulate Sydney - just moments after Swans forward Ryan O'Keefe claimed the Brisbane of old had been their inspiration.

The Swans were guarded about the availability of key forward Barry Hall (groin), saying they would give him until the last minute to prove his fitness.

But O'Keefe didn't hold back when asked about the Lions - a team that have not beaten the Swans since 2004, the last time the once-mighty Brisbane made the finals.

"We have probably based our game on Brisbane. That's how we have developed," he said.

"They were the benchmark, and that's what we have set ourselves to do over the years.

"They are a great side. They are going to test us as well."

Voss skippered the Lions to three straight premierships during their glory days which abruptly ended in 2004.

Since then Sydney emerged as a force, winning the 2005 flag and narrowly missing out in 2006.

Now the Lions coach, Voss admitted he had "gone full circle" after listening in on O'Keefe's praise at the Gabba on Friday.

"That was interesting listening to the way they talked about Brisbane, how they emulated us," he said.

"I think we are at that stage where we want to be able to emulate what the Sydney Swans stand for.

"So I guess it has gone full circle there.

"As a group if we were able to build towards something like that (Swans) we would be very pleased."

The Swans are much maligned for relying too heavily on the likes of 30-somethings Brett Kirk, Michael O'Loughlin and Hall.

Indeed the knives were out when they went without a goal for an hour in their first round loss to St Kilda.

But, as always, the Swans bounced back to upset defending champions Hawthorn last round.

Voss said the Swans were the same old force to be reckoned with in 2009.

"You have to compete until the end to beat them, they really do challenge the opposition," he said.

"You don't ever feel you have a safe lead against them, they keep coming at you.

"That's what I admire about them."

While Swans assistant John Longmire said Hall was still an "80-20" chance, Voss expected the strike weapon to play.

Lions small forward Rhan Hooper (ankle) was ruled out on Friday, opening the door for Tim Notting.

But Voss said there was nothing sinister about ruckman Jamie Charman's absence.

"Jamie did us a favour by pushing himself (after a knee injury) to get ready for round one - we didn't have any ruck stocks at that time," he said.

"He's got a steady build-up and we think he needs to get some game time under his belt (in the reserves)."

Asked if it meant youngster Matthew Leuenberger was now the Lions' No.1 ruckman, Voss said: "I don't like pecking orders. I believe in what players add to the group."

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