Lions coach happy on the AFL sidelines - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions coach happy on the AFL sidelines

By Laine Clark 01/09/2009 01:41:25 PM Comments (0)

For once, Michael Voss is glad he is not playing in the AFL finals.

As the Brisbane Lions prepared for their first taste of top eight footy in five years, Voss' feet had every right to be very itchy.

But the legendary competitor admits he is relieved to be sitting this one out, although his trademark style is still likely to be on display in the elimination final against Carlton at the Gabba on Saturday night.

In his first year as a coach, the three-time premiership skipper has kept his Midas touch with the clipboard, guiding the Lions to their first September campaign since the 2004 grand final.

Voss walked away as a player after the 2006 season, only for the prodigal son to return when Leigh Matthews made the shock announcement that he would quit as coach at the end of last season.

At 34, Voss still looks like he could don the famous No.3 guernsey and turn a match on its head.

But when asked if he wished he could run out in the must-win clash, Voss said: "No, I don't wish I was playing, that is for sure.

"Because the way these guys play now, it's full on.

"And I've whacked on a few kilos, so ..."

Voss didn't waste time putting his own stamp on the Lions once handed the reins last September.

By their first pre-season game, Brisbane were already displaying all the hallmarks of the Brownlow Medallist - attacking the ball, tackling hard and handballing often.

And when the dust settled at the end of the regular season, Voss' new-look Lions had muscled their way to sixth on the AFL ladder, earning a home final.

"They have set some pretty high benchmarks for themselves," Voss said of his players.

"I think a number have surprised themselves."

Brisbane have never lost a final at the Gabba and Voss, who played a significant role in maintaining that record as a player, has no plans of tarnishing it now as a coach.

"We come in quietly confident that we have prepared as best we can," Voss said.

"We have done everything we possibly can, the players are well equipped and in form and ready to go.

"It now comes down to have we got the mental state, the resilience, to get through a finals series.

"They have got the confidence, they have shown the ability, they have earned their spot - now it's about being able to get out there and do it."

Parallels could be drawn with Brett Ratten's influence on Carlton.

The ex-Blues premiership player has guided Carlton to their first finals campaign since 2001.

"Brett Ratten was a fantastic player and I knew him as a fantastic competitor," Voss said.

"He was able to draw the most out of himself as a player and I think he does the same as a coach, from his playing group.

"When you look at that I am not surprised they have ended up in a finals position."

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