Voss a 'winner' - Lions AFL assistant - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Voss a 'winner' - Lions AFL assistant

Laine Clark 13/05/2011 03:33:17 PM Comments (0)

Similarities between coaches Michael Voss and James Hird are hardly glaring right now.

Voss is fighting for his future at the Brisbane Lions, while Hird is enjoying a dream debut with the clipboard at Essendon.

But years of working alongside both men have taught Lions assistant coach Gary O'Donnell that they have much in common.

He was convinced Voss would soon share something else with Hird - an impressive coaching record.

"They are both very driven people. They are both winners - most things they have done have turned to gold," O'Donnell said on Friday.

"Michael is a very proud person.

"He has always been a winner and I think he will end up being a winner in this situation."

As a 243-game Bomber, ex-Essendon captain O'Donnell played alongside Hird and shared 1993 premiership success.

And he was popping champagne a lot with Lions captain Voss as Leigh Matthews' assistant coach during the club's golden era which included three straight flags.

Those days must seem like an eternity ago as the dead-last Lions (0-6) prepare for a Gabba onslaught from Essendon (4th; 4-2-1) on Saturday night.

Fifteen years after they tied for a Brownlow Medal, Voss will again share centre stage with Hird - but in very different circumstances.

All the signs are there that Voss is a coach living on a knife edge.

He brought forward his weekly media conference from Friday to Monday to defend himself after the Lions' sixth straight loss - their worst season start.

And club chairman Angus Johnson even wrote to members on Thursday, urging them to back the team while vowing to "continue to support" Voss.

Cynics could argue that a chairman pledging support signals the beginning of the end for a coach.

But O'Donnell was convinced Voss was the right man for the job.

"I think your footy team is a reflection of your coach," he said.

"At the moment, our club is not travelling very well win-wise, but I think internally we are moving in the right direction.

"We have got a fairly united group of players who are behind the coaching staff and club, and are fairly committed to how we are moving forward.

"But at the moment, we've just got to get back to basics, get behind each other in this period where we are not going that well on the scoreboard."

But there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Lions.

O'Donnell said inspirational captain Jonathan Brown was expected to return next week from horrific facial fractures.

And the Lions assistant was also encouraged by Essendon's lousy record outside Victoria.

In their 10 most recent interstate matches, the Bombers have lost nine including the past seven.

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