Plenty of questions were raised by Brisbane’s final AFL trial, but midfielder Daniel Rich reckons their 2014 game plan is clear: defence wins games.
More questions than answers emerged after the Brisbane Lions’ final practice match before the 2014 AFL season.
But midfielder Daniel Rich reckons their game plan is clear before their March 22 season opener against Hawthorn in Launceston: defence wins games.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch appeared to be scratching his head after Brisbane’s 27-point trial loss to a star-studded Sydney last weekend.
Brisbane only trailed the AFL heavyweights 20-19 in the inside-50 count, yet their forward structure remains a mystery before the season opener after a foil for veteran Jonathan Brown again failed to emerge.
And the jury is out on when Brown – recovering from a serious foot injury – will even run out for the three-time premiers after he registered just two touches before being replaced in the second half.
But that seemed to be the tip of the iceberg, judging by Leppitsch’s response to their weekend loss at Burpengary, north of Brisbane.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t capitalise with that forward structure that was there (in the first half),” Leppitsch said.
“We did mix it up in the second half there and got a better result. There’s a few things for us to think about.”
Just who can fill the void in the forward line remains a mystery, with a question mark over Brown and the quiet weekend display from Richmond recruit Luke McGuane, Michael Close and Marco Paparone.
However, Leppitsch admitted his defensive structure was also keeping him honest, despite limiting Sydney to just 86 points last weekend.
“There’s still three or four things I’m unsure of that might take two weeks, four weeks, five weeks to figure out,” he said.
“Is Mitch Golby a better half-back or wingman? Is Daniel Rich a better half-back or inside mid?”
However, Rich said defence would be the key for the Lions before a season in which they have already been dismissed as wooden spoon fancies.
Asked about their game plan, Rich said: “Just being in games more.
“Not in the position to be 30, 40, 50 points behind and come back and try for a miraculous win.
“Whether the game is more low scoring, that doesn’t bother us. We just want to be more consistent.”
He did not seem concerned by the question mark over their forward structure.
“It’s better that we find out now rather than round one, two or three,” Rich said.