Fans up for grabs in Qld AFL derby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fans up for grabs in Qld AFL derby

Laine Clark 05/05/2011 06:48:08 PM Comments (0)

More than bragging rights will be up for grabs in the AFL's first Queensland derby on Saturday night.

Lions' midfielder Cheynee Stiller believes Brisbane might steal fans away from the up-start Gold Coast with a much-needed Gabba win.

"We want to win the first one and try and get a few supporters that might be undecided (in Queensland) - we want to get in and grab those while we can," Brisbane born-and-bred Stiller said.

The Lions sit on the bottom of the table with a 0-5 record, surprisingly trailing debutants the Suns after their sensational win over Port Adelaide two rounds ago.

Defeats were nothing new to Brisbane this year, but Stiller said a loss would sting more against their new arch-rivals.

"Every loss cuts deep but to lose against them, it would be more significant," Stiller said.

"It's the first time we have played each other and we want to get off to a good start (in the derby).

"It's a big game for our club. The two sides from Queensland are coming together - we certainly want to win it.

"So the competition points are much more important to us than bragging rights."

Which is just as well - silencing the Suns might be tough even if the Lions emerge from the Gabba victorious, judging by outspoken Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna's latest crack.

The Suns' mentor has further stoked the fiery build-up by claiming Lions' coach Michael Voss offered to pay melee fines for his players ahead of their pre-season clash.

Stiller laughed off the Suns' banter on Thursday.

"Nothing has been really said about it. There's been some fun and games in the media," he smiled.

McKenna has also made comparisons with the sometimes bloody WA derby, which he knows all about after his glittering playing career at the West Coast Eagles.

Lions' champion Simon Black set the scene for a physical derby this week when he accused ex-teammates Jared Brennan and Michael Rischitelli of being "mercenaries" by linking with the Gold Coast.

However, Stiller reckoned the pair would not have targets on their heads when they ran out at the Gabba.

"You go into every game with players you want to take care of," Stiller said.

"Rischa won our best and fairest last year so we are going to want to keep tabs on him - but no more than normal."

Despite their season start having eerie similarities with their 1998 wooden spoon year, Stiller said another loss on Saturday night would not end their finals hopes.

"I don't think so. We haven't spoken about that," he said.

"It's almost a must-win game but we don't think if we lose, the season is over.

"It is definitely a big game, though.

"We could have easily won a couple of games.

"The form and talent is there. We just have to put it together over four quarters."

The Lions will back themselves after welcoming back attacking defender Josh Drummond.

The deadly accurate - but injury plagued - Drummond will play his first game of 2011 after finally overcoming a quad complaint.

Joel Patfull has been moved from the back six into full forward to make way for Drummond.

And forward Bryce Retzlaff, 19, has been picked to make his senior AFL debut.

Midfielder Jared Polec and ruckman Broc McCauley have been dropped.

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