The Brisbane Lions have prepared for an expected barrage of sledging from Richmond in Friday’s AFL qualifying final by dishing out some trash talk of their own on the training paddock.
The Lions are certain the Tigers won’t be shy of reminding them about their goalkicking inaccuracy when lining up for set shots, or last year’s finals thrashing either.
Despite an improvement during the closing rounds of the regular season, the Lions have struggled for accuracy for most of the year and several former stars have suggested it could cost them a big game.
The Lions were particularly wayward in their 41-point loss to the Tigers earlier this year, kicking 4.17 in a horror goalkicking display.
Brisbane were way off target in last year’s 47-point qualifying final loss to the Tigers, kicking 8.17 to Richmond’s 18.4, having more scoring shots yet suffering a big defeat, the first of the Lions straight sets finals exit.
Lions captain Dayne Zorko won’t blame Richmond for sledging, saying the Lions would adopt the same tactics if roles were reversed.
“If Richmond were in the exact same position I’m sure we would be letting them know as well,” Zorko said.
“We’ve expected that, we’ve trained for that … we’ve been throwing a little bit of lip on the mark.
“I think it becomes even harder when it’s your teammates throwing it at you. You can get a little bit more personal, and the boys have responded really well to that.Du
“I’m really confident that they’ve done the work now.”
As have the entire Lions squad in their bid to end a losing drought against Richmond that stretches back to 2009.
Zorko has played in 11 of Brisbane’s 15 successive losses to the Tigers.
“You don’t want to lose but I feel like we’re getting closer, and what better opportunity do we have than (Friday) night to reverse that,” he said.
“We haven’t really spoken about that this week. We’re going in really focused on what we can control.
“We’re not really worried about what the past results have been.”
Nor is Zorko concerned about the pressure on the Lions to take advantage of what club CEO Greg Swann described as a “once in lifetime opportunity” to win an AFL Grand Final at the Gabba.
“We’ve worked extremely hard for the past four years to put ourselves in a position like this,” Zorko said.
“We’ve only really solely focused on what’s going to happen (on Friday) night, (and) executing our plan as well as we possibly can in getting a result there.
“I feel like we’re really well prepared. We have a good understanding of how they play, they obviously understand how we play, but it can execute for longer, and they make you play for longer, then I think we’ll be OK.”