There’s a bit in it: Suns skipper Witts eyes Lion scalp

Murray Wenzel |

Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts is aware of the significance of the QClash with the Brisbane Lions.
Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts is aware of the significance of the QClash with the Brisbane Lions.

Jarrod Witts has urged his Gold Coast teammates not to get distracted, but admits there is “a bit in it” ahead of a defining AFL QClash with the Brisbane Lions.

The Suns will walk onto the Gabba on Sunday with a 4-3 record, boasting the most recent win in the Queensland derby.

Brisbane, unbeaten in 2023 at the Gabba, are 0-3 at their home ground this year and floundering at 2-5 after losing last year’s grand final by just four points.

The Lions had won the previous nine QClashes, but suddenly it’s the Suns in a position to claim ascendancy, and jump into the top eight, with victory.

“I’m not sure we’re going to use ‘gettable’, but if we play the way we want to … we’ll give ourselves a good chance,” Witts said of the Lions’ vulnerability.

“It’s clearly a really important game for where we’re both sitting.

“We haven’t been able to get a win on the road and Brisbane don’t have the win-loss (record) that they’d like.

“There’s a bit in it, in that sense.

“We’ve got to start winning games on the road, that’s for sure.”

A batch of fresh faces have driven the Suns forward under new coach Damien Hardwick, with second-gamer Jake Rogers earning a Rising Star nod in Sunday’s defeat of West Coast.

“We just want them to execute what we’ve been practising, not get overawed by it or get caught up in too much stuff,” Witts said.

“(We want to) just bring a hard brand of footy.”

Treading that line will be QClash specialist Touk Miller and Brisbane veteran Dayne Zorko.

Miller has won the Ashcroft Medal for best on ground in the derby a record four times, while Zorko, 35, has been a standout for the Lions playing in both attack and defence.

The pair have often clashed in the derby, dating back to 2018 when Zorko refused to shake direct opponent Miller’s hand after the Suns’ five-point win.

Miller starred again last year in a lung-busting two-way effort on Lions star Lachie Neale.

But Miller was retrospectively banned for a game by the AFL after Zorko went on radio to detail the damage done to his groin region in a tackle.

“They’ve had some history in the past,” said Witts, who is in his eighth season at the Suns since leaving Collingwood. 

“Dayne’s having a really good year up there at Brissie and so is Touk, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

“He (Miller) loves these games as much as anyone and has had some really good performances in the past for us.”