Lions feeling heat ahead of crucial AFL QClash

Murray Wenzel |

After five defeats in seven starts, the Lions languish in 13th spot on the ladder.
After five defeats in seven starts, the Lions languish in 13th spot on the ladder.

Harris Andrews admits the wide-ranging issues behind the Brisbane Lions’ poor AFL season start are a “little concerning” ahead of a crucial Gold Coast derby.

The Suns can strike a mighty blow to last season’s grand finalists at the Gabba on Sunday, the hosts 2-5 and winless in all three home clashes in a so-far underwhelming campaign.

Gold Coast (4-3) are the form side and won the last QClash by 41 points to end a nine-game losing streak against their big brother last season.

The Lions were criticised for – and have identified themselves – poor intensity and work rate in a lop-sided second half that contributed to a heavy loss to Greater Western Sydney on Anzac Day.

A week earlier it was the Lions’ composure and tactics on a wet Brisbane night that let them down against Geelong, while poor skills and execution cost them in tighter losses to Carlton and Collingwood.

“It’s a little concerning; we’d love to be playing more consistently,” Andrews said of their varied deficiencies.

“We’ve had quite a tough draw early on, played a lot of the top teams and … if you’re just off they make you pay.”

Andrews referenced the Lions’ ferocious work rate in an MCG defeat of Melbourne among those losses that almost adds to their frustrations.

Caleb Windsor and Cam Rayner.
Cam Rayner tackles Caleb Windsor during Brisbane’s win in round five over the Demons. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“If I had the reason why energy fluctuates I’d probably be doing bigger and greater things in the world in sport,” the co-captain mused.

“It can be a little bit uncomfortable watching some of that stuff (reviews), because you’re not proud of some of the efforts that were put in.

“It was pretty up-front and honest … we’ve reviewed it; the boys are excited to respond.”

Coach Chris Fagan has traditionally remained loyal to a group he’s taken from the AFL’s cellar in 2017 to within four points of a flag last year.

But Andrews reckons that doesn’t mean players aren’t looking over their shoulders ahead of Sunday’s contest.

“Absolutely; plenty would put their hands up and say they didn’t play up to the standard they set,” he said.

“No-one’s sitting around happy with themselves, feeling comfortable.

“I’m grateful for Fages and the loyalty he shows to myself and the rest of the players.

“That’s held us in good stead but … players aren’t taking liberties and assuming they’re in the team.”