Lions seek redemption against Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions seek redemption against Bombers

By Laine Clark 01/05/2009 04:24:39 PM Comments (0)

The "lucky" medallion around Michael Voss' neck may come in handy for the Brisbane Lions coach on Saturday night.

Voss is confident he has done everything possible to ensure his team has forgotten about last round's 93-point AFL mauling at Geelong.

But the rookie coach may be tempted to rub his necklace - featuring his old playing number "3" - for luck ahead of the Gabba showdown with a resurgent Essendon.

Put simply, Voss has no idea how his team will respond to their embarrassing loss.

And he concedes the way they back up against the Bombers could be season-defining.

But he has confidence in his team - and his lucky necklace, if all else fails.

Voss showed off the jewellery ahead of the game on Friday, indicating the significance of its number which will again be on show on the field this weekend.

Sam Sheldon, son of Carlton legend Ken Sheldon, will make his AFL debut donning Voss' former number in one of four changes to the Lions team.

"It's a nice touch to see the No.3 out there again," Voss said on Friday.

"And I wear the lucky No.3 around my neck. Hopefully he has a bit of luck in that number."

And Voss will be hoping it also brings him a bit of luck for a game that could shape their year.

"You are never too sure how they react until they get out there on Saturday night," Voss said.

"But what we couldn't afford to happen was our season falling apart.

"To let that one game dictate what our season is going to look like would be more disastrous than the loss itself.

"We need to jump back on the bike straight away."

Voss admits it was tempting to wield the axe during the "toughest week" of his fledgling coaching career.

"There was probably only two or three players who acquitted themselves (against Geelong)," Voss said.

"Unless you want to change the whole team there was not much point in wholesale changes.

"For us it is about moving on. Our focus is completely on Essendon."

The Bombers also have plenty to play for as legendary fullback Dustin Fletcher marks his 300th game.

"You think about when he first played on the Abletts and Locketts as a 17-year-old schoolboy and then going to Essendon Grammar during the week, then get to this point in his career," Voss said.

"His durability has been absolutely amazing.

"I would like to wish him all the best but it's a bit hard when you are playing against him."

Both sides have gone with just one ruckman after Voss dumped Mitch Clark's back-up Lachlan Henderson, setting up an intriguing duel with Anzac Medalist Patrick Ryder.

Clark is stepping up in the long term absence of Matthew Leuenberger (knee) and Jamie Charman (ankle).

The Lions have won the last five games at the Gabba against the Bombers, starting with the famous "If it bleeds, we can kill it" clash in 2001.

But Essendon have not played in Brisbane since round two, 2006.

Essendon (3-2 record; 6th) have won their past three matches against the Lions (203; 13th) by an average margin of 46 points.

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