Lions-Suns rivalry already growing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions-Suns rivalry already growing

Roger Vaughan 19/11/2010 04:24:56 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna is determined that his fledgling AFL club will avoid the sort of local rivalry imbalance that initially plagued Fremantle.

Now that the Suns have set up their list, there is much attention on the impending battle with the Brisbane Lions for Queensland bragging rights.

The two teams will clash for the first time for premiership points in round seven next year at the Gabba and again at the same venue in round 21.

McKenna was playing at West Coast when the Eagles "owned" Fremantle in the first few years after the Dockers' 1995 AFL debut.

West Coast won the Western Derby nine times before the Dockers had their historic first win against the Eagles in July, 1999.

McKenna said it was a simple fact that Brisbane had the advantage of being an established club, but the Suns had to stand up for themselves from the start.

"They've been in the competition longer than us, their squad size and age is going to be older than ours, we can't do that, we can't manufacture that, that's what it is," he said on Friday.

"You can run and hide from it or you can stand up and confront it, that's what we're prepared to do.

"Having been at West Coast, I know what the rivalry is like in a two-team town or state, we understand we have to make up a lot of ground on them.

"Mind you, we'll be doing some hard work as well and we hope to be exciting."

An obvious difference is the Eagles had won the premiership a year before Fremantle's debut, while Brisbane are coming off a horrid season.

Lions coach Michael Voss is also unafraid to talk up the Suns rivalry.

"We'll never be on good terms with Gold Coast, let's make that pretty clear," he said.

Voss was smiling when he made that comment, but there did not appear to be too much mirth in it.

The Lions coach and three-time premiership player was speaking at a Gold Coast surf club, the morning after the national draft.

He started talking about the redevelopment of Gold Coast's Carrara stadium home and then added: "I'm here to publicise the Brisbane Lions too, by the way, rather than Gold Coast."

Voss added Brisbane deserved some credit for Gold Coast's addition to the league next year.

"I must admit, I went out to (Carrara) stadium the other day ... and I thought in 1992 I left that place," said Voss, who made his debut with the then Brisbane Bears in 1992.

"I never thought in a million years I would be back there ... having AFL football on the Coast.

"It goes to show you, the publicity the Brisbane Lions have been able to generate over the last 20 years and as a result, we've been able to get another team on the Coast."

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