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Senior Lions turn up the heat on Suns

Jim Morton 02/05/2011 05:13:51 PM Comments (0)

Lions veteran Simon Black has taken aim at the Gold Coast Suns' silver spoon origins and labelled former teammates Jared Brennan and Michael Rischitelli mercenaries, lighting the fuse on the AFL's inaugural Queensland derby.

The normally mild-mannered Black said the Suns had benefited greatly from the AFL's generosity to ensure there was no repeat of the Brisbane Bears' years of struggle on the Gold Coast from 1987-93.

The 2002 Brownlow medallist admitted there was resentment at the Suns' spoon-fed existence and vowed the highly-motivated Lions would attempt to stamp their authority on their new neighbours on Saturday night at the Gabba.

While the fledgling club has been on the receiving end of four hidings - including Sunday's 139-point demolition by Essendon - from their first five matches, the Suns are looking forward to a bright future thanks largely to a raft of priority draft picks.

"The AFL has given them everything and some and they have been extremely fortunate the way they have come into the competition," Black said on Monday.

"They have been benefactors of other clubs coming into the competition and not having immediate success, e.g. the Brisbane Bears.

"So they've been handed (plenty) on a platter. No doubt in time, two or three years they will be a very good footy side, but geez they've been given everything and some."

For the past decade, Black and fellow midfield star Luke Power have been regarded as the opening batsmen by Brisbane media for their unerring ability to play the straightest of bats to any questions.

But both got well and truly on the front foot on Monday as the winless Lions prepared to meet their local rivals for the first time.

Power claimed the meeting between the league's two bottom-placed teams was the biggest game on earth in 2011.

"It's for pride, it's for market share, it's for everything," he said.

"Our boys are well aware of that and I'm sure the Gold Coast players are too."

Black agreed: "We're under no illusions.

"We need a great performance this weekend and there's no better occasion to play the enemy down the road for the first time.

"It's been spoken about for months and months about stamping our authority for AFL footy in Queensland.

"They're the new kids on the block and it's big brother-little brother syndrome."

A sub plot will be the treatment Brisbane mete out to defectors Brennan and Rischitelli, the Lions' reigning club champion, who left following a disastrous 2010 season.

"I'm sure they will cop a few cheeky texts during the week and bit of niggle there and we'll give a bit more niggle out there on Saturday night," Black said.

"At the end of the day the mercenaries are not here anymore and good luck to them."

The mercurial Brennan produced one of the most memorable AFL debuts for Brisbane against Collingwood in 2004 and still retains many friends within the Lions camp but is expecting his former side to attempt to get under his skin.

"But that's football and I am used to it now and hopefully it will just be water off a duck's back," Brennan said.

The Suns are licking their wounds following their annihilation on Sunday when the Bombers kicked a record 15.4 in the first term.

"It was definitely embarrassing ... the first quarter you just wanted to crawl in a hole and die," Brennan said.

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