A phone conversation with Michael Voss while standing on top of a ladder has Jonathan Brown wary.
But the Brisbane Lions great still thinks his old team, and the tall forwards he all-but wrote off earlier this year, has proved itself ready to win the club’s first flag in 20 years.
Preliminary finals since last flag in 2003
2004: beat Geelong by 9 points (lost grand final)
2020: lost to Geelong by 40 points
2022: lost to Geelong by 71 points
2023: vs Carlton (Sept 22)
The Lions play Carlton in Saturday’s preliminary final at the Gabba.
Blues coach Voss was Lions captain when Brisbane last won a premiership in 2003.
Carlton has won 11 of 12 to reach this point, historically moving from fourth-last in the 15th round to finish in fifth place.
Former teammate Brown took a call from Voss this week while the retired full forward was painting atop a ladder.
“I’m so happy for Fly [Collingwood coach and another former Lion Craig McRae] but especially Vossy, considering the headlines in the middle of the year were ‘sack Voss’,” he said.
“It’s a great story; he believes the resilience they’ve developed on the back end of their bad run was the catalyst.
“It’s going to be tough to regroup and go again.
“But he’s not satisfied. He wants to go all the way and that’s important.”
Brown was critical of Brisbane and particularly forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood after a poor round-three loss to the Bulldogs.
“No, they’re not [premiership key forwards],” he told Fox Footy in April.
“I’ve got serious doubts … any key forward needs to be reliable and predictable to his teammates — and I’m not seeing reliable and predictable teammates in Hipwood and Daniher at the moment.”
The pair have responded and Brown’s tune has changed, with Hipwood managing a career-best 40 goals this season and Daniher (56) booting five to star in the Lions’ qualifying final win.
He said Daniher’s ability to play in the ruck and get more involved, made possible by off-season shoulder surgery, had enhanced his threat up front.
“All big forwards want to know they can handle that,” Brown said of Daniher’s composure against Port Adelaide two weeks ago.
“Since the bad loss to the Bulldogs — they copped a fair bit of criticism — but they’ve played like big blokes since.”
Brisbane, undefeated in 11 home games this season, has made three preliminary finals in the past four seasons but is yet to reach a grand final under coach Chris Fagan.
“I think so [they can win a flag]; they’ve got the belief,” Brown said. “I think they had hope in previous years.”
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Source: AFL NEWS ABC