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Lions won't target ex-players

07/03/2011 09:43:23 PM Comments (0)

An historic AFL derby clash with the Gold Coast Suns could not come soon enough, according to Brisbane Lions vice-captain Daniel Merrett.

But the Lions deputy quickly ruled out targeting the likes of former teammate Michael Rischitelli in Sunday's long-awaited pre-season showdown at Southport, affectionately dubbed the "Sunshine Stoush".

The AFL initially looked to be reluctant to pit the south-east Queensland rivals against each other in the pre-season ahead of their eagerly anticipated round seven clash at the Gabba on May 7.

But they finally relented, pitting the rivals against each on the same weekend the NRL officially kicks off.

In a bid to ensure the NRL does not receive a free kick this weekend, the Suns will host the Lions on Sunday after the Broncos-Cowboys Friday night rugby league season opener and the Titans-Dragons showdown on the glitter strip on Saturday night.

"Hopefully the rivalry starts this weekend with a little bit of angst going on and hopefully that builds into round seven," Merrett said on Monday.

The likes of Rischitelli and Jared Brennan switched allegiances from the Lions to the Suns, setting the stage for an intriguing derby this weekend.

But Merrett said the Lions would not be out to settle old scores against former teammates on Sunday.

"I don't think we will target any of our ex-players," he said.

"We think Rischa is a very solid player and a quality player so we are not going to go after him."

Merrett also kept his fingers crossed that Lions captain Jonathan Brown was a chance of running out this weekend in what would be his first pre-season game.

Brown has not played at all in the pre-season because of a knee infection.

The Lions are buzzing after their first pre-season victory - a 29-point thumping of Melbourne - while the Suns are smarting from last weekend's 72-point thrashing at the hands of Sydney at Southport.

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