Brown presents AFL challenges for all - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brown presents AFL challenges for all

By Roger Vaughan 27/07/2007 06:44:18 PM Comments (0)

Having "probably the biggest, strongest forward going around" in his AFL side comes with challenges for Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews.

Jonathan Brown will come off his 10-goal demolition of Carlton last Sunday when the resurgent Lions play Collingwood on Saturday night at the MCG.

Brown has kicked 20 goals in the last three games, which Brisbane have won to put them just half a game outside the top eight.

Matthews and Collingwood counterpart Mick Malthouse naturally heaped praise on Brown on Friday, with Malthouse rating him just ahead of Sydney's Barry Hall as the AFL's top power forward.

"Brown is probably the biggest, strongest forward going around, with all due respects to Barry Hall, (who) plays a slightly different game," Malthouse said.

"I don't want to get into a naming of other forwards, but Brown is one that has the true capability of kicking 10.

"He presents another question, whether we're good enough to hold that forward line."

Sides were successfully double-teaming Brown earlier this season, with the Lions forced to work hard to generate other goalkicking options.

Matthews said one potential pitfall was team-mates zeroing in on Brown when they kick inside 50m, even though he might not be the best scoring option.

"It's a constant issue with your dominant players - your dominant forwards draw the ball," Matthews said.

"One of the reasons they're dominant forwards is not only their ability to get it when it towards them, they make their team-mates kick it to them with the force of their character and personality.

"(It) means sometimes you go to them when there's maybe a better option.

"The champion forwards do draw the ball to them, even when logically there's a better option on."

Saturday night will be the first time the Lions have played on the MCG since round 10 last year, when Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley was the difference with six goals.

Several younger Brisbane players saw the grand final venue for the first time on Friday when they had a light training run on the ground.

"Any game at the MCG is a big game, as long as there's 30, 40,000-plus people here," Matthews said.

"Even tomorrow night, I guess they'll get that or more.

"That's invaluable experience because the one thing we know for certain, this is where the big day is played."

While the sixth-placed Magpies must start favourites, Malthouse said the Lions commanded respect.

"They've got the ingredients of a very good mix - they've got a midfield which I think is No.2 in the comp, they've got a giant forward in Brown along with (Jared) Brennan, (Robert) Copeland, (Wayde) Mills, (Luke) Power and so forth who are all kicking goals.

"Their backline is very sound.

"We've got to open it up and see if we take away their strengths - hopefully, if we've got strengths, they are maintained."

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