After a 2011 season that yielded just four wins, the Brisbane diehards were quiet. Talk was going around there would be changes. And there were. A new chairman, and a talented young group led by experienced veterans. It tuned 2012 into a much better season. While missing out on the finals again, Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown hinted that the possibility of more success in the near future was a trigger in keeping both his, and veteran Simon Black’s career, healthy.
“I’m enjoying it and the body’s feeling not too bad. I know I’m towards the back end of things but while you’re enjoying your footy and while the group’s heading in the right direction, I’m keen to keep rolling,” he said after the win over Port Adelaide.
Brown both emphasized and highlighted the developing and improving careers of players such as Dayne Zorko, Josh Green and Rowan Bewick, who have provided the Lions with extra run and carry through the midfield, a strength that has been lacking in the past few seasons. It has taken the load of Black’s shoulders, and given more responsibility to the next breed of the club.
“I’m starting to see greater ownership of the team now.
“Guys are not just happy to get a game, they want the team to be successful and they’re really trying to drive that, and that’s exciting for a veteran looking at that.”
The Lions 2011 season was cruelled by major injuries to key backman Josh Drummond, a knee injury to Brent Staker, and two horrific facial injuries to Brown that required surgery. Now though, with the likes of Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden, Daniel Rich and Zorko stepping up to the plate, the Lions have shrugged off some of their dark periods from last year. Coach Michael Voss believes that the young group is exactly what the club needed.
“We’re getting less and less reliant on that (Black and Brown), there’s others actually taking ownership with the team and stepping up in those moments.”
The Lions bagged wins against both West Coast and Adelaide at home, two big scalps in finals contention. Voss said in an interview after the Adelaide game that while the West Coast win was good, the win against the Crows was the “wanted” one.
“Different in nature clearly (to the West Coast game), but that (the Adelaide game) was a better one. You’re coming from [38 points] down. To do that against a team in really good form, they’ve got a clear lead on us and we’ve chased them down.”
With more games under the young group’s belts, and Black and Brown leading the group, we may see the Lions move up the ladder, back to where they were a decade ago during their triple premiership run.
Season rating: 6/10
(Quote source: lions.com.au)