Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Golovin's Pu$$y
Re: AFL Round 12
Lions coach Matthews eyes finals
11:04 AM Fri 22 June, 2007 | Back
Brought to you by LAINE CLARK,
HIS ONCE mighty Lions may be travelling "poorly" but Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews has not given up on playing 2007 AFL finals footy - yet.
A revamped training regime will greet Lions players when they return from this weekend's split round break as Matthews launches a final, bold bid to get Brisbane into the finals for the first time in three seasons.
"We understand to play finals we will have to win almost all our (remaining) games and that's difficult," Matthews said.
"But we just have to add more match simulated pressure to our training.
"We are not handling game pressure well enough in the decision making, skill execution."
At the mid-season break, Matthews was honest when asked to assess how his side was travelling.
"Poorly. We've played 12 games. Our first six were quite good and our last six were a fair bit below that - that's where we stand at the moment," he said.
No one will argue with Matthews after Brisbane let a 4-2 season start slump to a 4-1-7 record leading into this weekend's split round break.
Despite his finals talk, Matthews sounded like a man taking a long term view with his Lions cubs as they attempt to revitalise a club that once dominated the AFL.
"I believe what we are putting on the field can be a much better group 12 months to two years from now," he said.
"They've got improvement in them and that's the hope we are all working very hard on.
"We are hoping to be a better side in 10 weeks' time than we are now."
Meanwhile, Matthews confirmed key forward Jonathan Brown was still battling a virus that has plagued the matchwinner for the last five weeks but said that was not to blame for his recent quiet form.
"He's actually had a really bad cough for the last four or five weeks, a chest virus," he said.
"It hasn't stopped him doing anything but I don't know whether he is at peak energy levels."
Matthews said there was no quick fix as Brisbane tried to provide much needed assistance to Brown, who is double and sometimes triple teamed by opposition.
The master tactician didn't need to be told Brown needed help, but a brave punter offered his advice anyway.
"Someone said to me the other day 'the opposition seems to know the ball is going to Jonathan Brown, how come your blokes don't?' - it's a pretty good question," Matthews laughed.
"We will persevere more with our smaller forwards like Ash McGrath, Rhan Hooper and Albert Proud.
"We need to have our other target players. At the moment we are not getting support around Jonathan Brown at ground level."
In other news, Matthews is still keeping his fingers crossed veteran defender Chris Scott will return for Brisbane this season.
Scott has missed the best part of three seasons as he battles a hip injury.
"There are a lot of steps to be taken for Chris to be playing again," Matthews said.
"He's persevering, we're persevering. He's contracted for the year so what the hell."
Who is he kidding? To make the finals, we need to be the team of 01 again.
I do hope Chris Scott comes back soon. His agression is needed plus he will be a good target in the forward line for us.