Finals-bound Lions claim underdog status - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finals-bound Lions claim underdog status

By Laine Clark 27/08/2009 10:26:56 PM Comments (0)

Underdog status may have been snapped up by the finals-bound Brisbane Lions ahead of Sydney's emotional send-off of three club greats.

But Lions coach Michael Voss all but confirmed Brisbane would also farewell some of the club's biggest names at the end of the AFL season.

In-form Brisbane will secure a home final if they down Sydney at the SCG on Saturday.

But the match will also double as the swansong for retiring Swans legends Jared Crouch, Michael O'Loughlin and Leo Barry - giving Sydney favouritism, according to Voss.

"There's probably a fair argument to suggest that we come into this game as underdogs," Voss said.

"It is their guys who are finishing up, they have a good history against us - we haven't won at the SCG since 2003."

However, Voss hinted that this season would also mark the end of an era at the Lions after reports four of his assistant coaches - including triple premiership players Justin Leppitsch and Chris Johnson - were leaving.

Leppitsch - linked with Hawthorn - has reportedly been encouraged to hone his craft outside of Brisbane, where he has been based since 1993.

Johnson reportedly wants to move to Melbourne while Lions assistants Craig and Wayne Brittain are expected to work in a sprinkler-instalment business.

"You are going to have changes, whether it is assistant coaches or players we are going to have changes in personnel," Voss said.

"The unfortunate thing at the end of each season is that this group will not be together again.

"That's special in its own way."

While Voss appears to have been given the green light to set up a new-look coaching set-up next season, his focus was clearly on Saturday.

"That's next year - I am talking about how we are going to win against Sydney on Saturday," he said.

With fullback Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and key forward Daniel Bradshaw (quad) ruled out, Voss on Thursday named Jason Roe and Lachlan Henderson as their replacements.

But there was no sign of key midfielder Jed Adcock, who had hoped to cap a remarkable comeback from a knee injury barely eight weeks after initially being ruled out for the season.

Adcock failed to pull up after last weekend's reserves game and will not play at all this weekend.

Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger - who hasn't played since round three - is on track to come back from knee surgery complications and chime into the finals after being named in the ruck for the reserves this weekend.

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