Class of 2001 inspires Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Class of 2001 inspires Lions

By Laine Clark 25/03/2011 06:43:31 PM Comments (0)

Highlights of an historic 2001 AFL grand final win at the Brisbane Lions' season launch visibly stirred Michael Voss in a rare relaxing moment for the besieged coach.

But Voss said on Friday he may not have been the biggest beneficiary of the trip down memory lane.

Even with Jason Akermanis nearby, Voss couldn't have looked happier as the class of 2001 assembled to watch a rousing show reel of their heroics 10 years ago to mark last Friday's launch.

However, Voss believed the Lions' current pride may have taken more from the night as they began the long road to redemption against Fremantle at the Gabba on Saturday night.

"It's been a good reference for this group of players," Voss said of the 2001 flag highlights.

"(In 2001) we were able to create something as a group and this group is at the start of that journey.

"We obviously want long-term success and it has got to start somewhere.

"We've got to build those moments for ourselves."

Easier said than done after a disastrous 2010.

Enduring a 3-15 season finish to freefall to 13th was hard enough before the fallout over controversial forward Brendan Fevola's departure.

As a result, the Lions are one of the hot 2011 wooden spoon favourites.

But Voss has sensed something in the Lions' pre-season that may surprise critics - promise.

"They read the paper like everyone else, whether it is a motivating factor I am not sure," Voss said of his under-rated team.

"But in this instance I think what is more powerful is what we are trying to move towards.

"They are in a good place.

"If there is a time to prove a few people wrong it might be on the weekend."

But Voss did not have to be told the Lions needed to start walking the walk after their 2010 nightmare - especially in the season-opener.

"First impressions count for a lot," he said.

"I reckon we have had a really successful pre-season program but it means little if you can't get started (on the playing field).

"We also know it is a marathon, it's not a sprint.

"But you do put everything possible into round one because you want that encouragement straight away."

Voss said one of their top priorities was making the Gabba a fortress again, as it was in their early 2000s heyday.

"To be able to have 30,000 people here is quite intimidating and it is up to us to put in the performance (to attract that crowd)," he said.

Voss was hardly comforted by Fremantle's long injury list which ensured teenager Jayden Pitt and ex-Port Adelaide defender Nick Lower made their AFL debuts for the Dockers this weekend.

But he had no problem with Lions captain Jonathan Brown being thrown into AFL action at full forward despite not playing a pre-season game.

"Not at all. He lives and breathes footy, so he will be fine," Voss said.

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