Lions don't fear Saints backlash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions don't fear Saints backlash

By Laine Clark 20/04/2011 06:15:17 PM Comments (0)

Even Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss is surprised Thursday night's opponents St Kilda are yet to register a win in 2011.

But he is under no illusion about what to expect from the perennial AFL finalists at the Gabba.

Not that it fazes him.

"It's quite different to the St Kilda that has started seasons previously," Voss said on Wednesday.

"There's been a fair bit of talk about how they are going to come and what sort of pressure they have been under.

"But for us it doesn't change a thing.

"We expected this to be a big game for us - it's Easter Thursday.

"It's a big game in the context of our season, so that probably means it is going to be a physical clash."

The Saints have surprisingly begun 2011 with two losses - including a 52-point thrashing in their last start against Essendon - and one draw.

But Voss doesn't believe they are on the slide.

"No, they are not (on the slide) - there are too many names there that will hurt you massively if you underestimate them," Voss said.

"You always respect your opponent and they have been up there as one of the best teams of the last three, four years.

"They still have something in them and we have to make sure we quell them."

That will be easier said than done after St Kilda key forward Justin Koschitzke was named to play his first game of the season after off-season ankle surgery.

Tough backman Steven Baker and Andrew McQualter are the other Saints inclusions.

The Lions, also coming off a bye, have lost Ryan Lester (foot) and cut Claye Beams, adding utility Tom Collier and ruckman Broc McCauley.

Despite being on track to match the Lions' worst start to a season, Voss does not believe comparisons can be made to Brisbane's 1998 wooden spoon season.

Back then, the Lions failed to win a game until round six.

"You've got to look at our performances," Voss said.

"Look at the pressure we have been able to put on the opposition and our competitive instincts have been right up there.

"I am more than content with our effort and that is why it has been gut-wrenching that we have not been able to get the win on the board.

"It's a far cry from 1998, when you are not competitive at all."

Rather than fear a Saints backlash, Voss said the Easter Thursday match would prove a timely yardstick.

They have suffered two narrow losses and one blowout to date - just like the Saints.

"We sit in a very similar position," he said.

"But we want a reward with a 'W' against our name and we feel we're not that far away from getting it."

Voss will mark his 50th game at the Lions helm on Thursday night - much to his surprise.

"I only found out five minutes ago," he laughed.

"Those milestones are nice to get but in all honesty it feels a lot better walking off with four points."

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