We are the AFL's 'ugly duckling': Voss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We are the AFL's 'ugly duckling': Voss

By Laine Clark 07/09/2009 06:58:22 PM Comments (0)

Of the six remaining teams in the AFL finals mix, Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss reckons his side feels like the "ugly duckling".

But it has not stopped Voss planning on ruffling some feathers in Friday night's must-win semi-final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

Despite the Lions' stunning comeback win over Carlton in their first finals match in five years, Voss was bemused to find their heroics had barely rated a mention in AFL circles down south.

While conceding that only St Kilda and Geelong had earned the right to be called premiership contenders, Voss still thought perhaps the Lions' remarkable seven-point Gabba win over the Blues last Saturday night would at least make a few sit up and take notice.

Even bookmakers have all but abandoned them.

Brisbane's odds of winning the premiership have blown out to $34 with Sportingbet Australia - well adrift of St Kilda ($2.50), Geelong ($2.75), Adelaide ($8), Western Bulldogs ($8) and Collingwood ($9).

"There's five teams spoken about and I almost feel like the ugly duckling left in the competition," Voss said at Brisbane on Monday.

"Everyone is talking about five and we're the sixth.

"That's just where we're at. The rest of the competition is talking about five and we're just the ones dragging the chain a little bit."

But Voss warned that the Lions enjoyed proving the doubters wrong.

Stats back him - this season they have ended several club hoodoos including breaking a seven-year losing run against the Swans at Sydney.

Savouring their first finals campaign since 2004, the Lions don't sound like they are done with just yet.

"I think most of the year this group has (enjoyed proving people wrong), so maybe they've enjoyed the ugly duckling tag," Voss said.

"Maybe we've been that the whole year.

"It (playing the Bulldogs) is going to be a good challenge for us but I think we're up for it.

"(But) when you talk about premiership contenders I think that two have earned that right to be premiership contenders and they won on the weekend and they get to play a preliminary final.

"At the moment everyone else is fighting to get that equal footing."

However, the cavalry is arriving just in time to bolster the Lions' push.

Voss believes he will have the luxury of selecting from his strongest squad of the year - at just the right time.

Skipper Jonathan Brown has been declared a certain starter despite a suspected facial fracture.

In further good news, key trio Simon Black (hamstring), Daniel Bradshaw (quad) and Daniel Merrett (hamstring) will back up after being late entries against Carlton.

And defenders Josh Drummond (quad) and Joel Macdonald (back) are back in the mix after missing the elimination final.

Voss also remains hopeful highly-rated midfielder Jed Adcock will be available after eight weeks sidelined with a knee injury.

Not that anyone was feeling any pain after the stirring elimination final win and, clearly, Voss was still buzzing.

"When you review the tape you see the efforts before and after that (match-winning) goal for Braddy (Bradshaw)...that was probably the best passage of play we've had this year," Voss said.

"The way we wanted to set up in pressure situations, I thought the guys really held their nerve and held their head.

"They should get some genuine confidence out of that."

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