High-stakes clash for Bulldogs and Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

High-stakes clash for Bulldogs and Lions

By Jim Morton 14/08/2009 08:17:05 PM Comments (0)

Top-four aspirants Brisbane and Western Bulldogs have stressed the need for clinical and accurate finishing ahead of their high-stakes AFL clash at the Gabba.

The Lions can leapfrog the fourth-placed Bulldogs with victory on Saturday night where the club's forward lines are on notice after wayward goalkicking in missed opportunities last weekend.

The Bulldogs' shock five-point loss to West Coast, where they kicked an uncharacteristic 13.19, has opened the door for Brisbane to claim an unlikely doubles chance in the finals.

The Lions have a slightly better run home with matches against Port Adelaide (home) and Sydney (away) and Rodney Eade's men - to meet Geelong and Collingwood - could be shut out of the top four with a second consecutive defeat.

"The next three weeks will tell the tale but this game is as important as any this season," Eade admitted on Friday.

The Bulldogs will be boosted by the returns of Scott Welsh and Bob Murphy, two of the club's four better forwards to miss the Eagles clash.

"No excuses, we still created enough opportunities last week, 32 scoring shots and we didn't play very well," said Eade, who this week re-signed as coach for a further two years.

"We've been pretty pleased with our accuracy all year, we're probably No.1 in the competition, but last week hurt us.

"In this game you just have to take your chances when they present. The competition is too even and too tough to let chances slip."

Lions coach Michael Voss was singing from the same hymn sheet after Brisbane kicked 12.15 to draw with a more efficient Essendon.

"We had our genuine opportunities in the inside 50 where we weren't able to capitalise and make the most of it," Voss said.

"We had enough scoring shots but weren't efficient inside our 50 so it's something we want to clean up coming into this particular game. "With the pressure that's on we have to finish our work."

Spearhead Jonathan Brown was the unlikely main perpetrator, kicking 0.5, but the skipper fully expects to snap back into goalkicking form.

The Lions enjoy a 7-2 record at the Gabba this year, their best home percentage since making four straight grand finals from 2001 to 2004.

The clash will mark the third return of Jason Akermanis to the Gabba but the wary Lions aren't planning to show the in-form former Brisbane star any extra attention.

Eade said his side felt rejuvenated by an extended pre-match stay in sunny Queensland which had served as a welcome antidote to their last-start loss.

The Bulldogs' getaway hasn't been without incident with big Will Minson getting stuck in the netting of the WaveRider at a Gold Coast amusement park.

"I must admit it was quite funny," Eade said.

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