New rival, same passion from Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

New rival, same passion from Lions

20/07/2009 07:38:05 PM Comments (0)

Think AFL's Rivalry Round and Brisbane Lions taking on the Kangaroos does not exactly jump out.

But the lure of finals footy has ensured the Lions will come out with plenty of passion against North Melbourne at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Usually Brisbane tackles Sydney in their traditional Rivalry Round clash.

One wag suggested the Kangaroos were now considered the Lions' rivals because they thought about relocating to the Gold Coast.

Whatever the reasoning, Lions coach Michael Voss talked up the match's importance with their first taste of finals footy since 2004 so tantalisingly close.

The Lions won their fourth away game - their best road record since 2005 - when they held out a desperate Fremantle last Saturday night to move to fifth with a 10-6 record.

With six regular season rounds left - three of them at home - Voss doesn't have to be told a finals place is theirs for the taking.

"We have got a big game for us to get us to a position where we can say we are playing finals - we haven't reached that point yet," he said in Brisbane on Monday.

"We have always aimed for 12 wins (to make the finals). That's been our goal since we started on October 27, 2008.

"And to achieve that you have to make sure you put your home games away - so that makes this game critically important for us.

"What we have achieved on the road has been pretty good. Now it's about being able to capitalise on that at home."

While the Lions need two more wins to satisfy Voss' finals criteria, the gritty win at Fremantle seemed to convince the Brisbane coach his side were at least top-eight material.

"Some things went against us (against Fremantle) and earlier this year we would have used that as an excuse so it shows we have a bit more resilience about us," he said.

"And at the back half of the year you need that resilience, that durability, to be mentally a bit tougher.

"The guys have built up their confidence. They know they can match it with some very, very good sides but ... you need to be resilient enough to see your way through it and still get the result.

"That was the big tick for us on the weekend."

But injuries have again hampered the Lions' progress.

Key forward Daniel Bradshaw is set to miss two to three weeks with a minor hamstring tear.

But dangerman Jared Brennan could be available for the Kangaroos clash after scans on Monday revealed only a minor ankle strain.

Irish recruit Pearce Hanley is likely to come in for Brennan if the utility fails a fitness test, while youngster Lachlan Henderson is expected to slot in for Bradshaw.

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