The Brisbane Lions are chalking up their heavy loss last week as a “bad day” but face a huge task in reversing their AFL fortunes against Sydney on Sunday.
It’s been a tough start to the season as expected for the struggling Lions, culminating in their 53-point thumping at the hands of the Western Bulldogs last weekend.
Beaten in almost every department – crucially in their Achilles heel, contested football – coach Justin Leppitsch accused his players of getting ahead of themselves after their first win of the year the week before against Gold Coast.
The in-form Swans are heavy favourites to take care of Brisbane at the Gabba and Leppitsch knows they’ll need an instant turnaround from last week.
“It has always been a focus but we were poor in that area (contested football) on the weekend,” he said.
“(But) we all had a bad one, coaches included.
“Everyone has to leave the game and ask what could I have done better?
“It was just a bad day for us as a footy club – we want to rectify that. We haven’t had too many poor performances so far this year.”
Ruckman Stefan Martin, who will play his 100th AFL game, said playing in the comfort of their home ground will at least help the Lions get back in the right mindset.
“I think we play decent footy at the Gabba but when we travel we get paralysed a bit psychologically,” Martin said.
“We tend to get a bit passive whereas here we are aggressive, we have to make sure we play away as well as we do at home.”
The Lions have not beaten Sydney since 2009, with the Swans having notched a 4-1 record after five rounds.
Key defender Aliir Aliir, a Sudanese refugee, is in line to make his AFL debut for Sydney, while Brisbane has rested prized draftee Josh Schache has they look to ease the spearhead into his first season.
Promising midfielder Ben Keays, a product of Brisbane’s academy system, has also been handed a maiden chance at AFL level.