Lions’ last two months as good as finalists: Witherden
ALEX Witherden has ruled out any attempts from Brisbane to claim QClash underdog status, saying it was a sour feeling for the Lions to be stuck on equal points with the Suns on the ladder.
Whether it is standard pre-game psychology, the history of upsets in the derby or the fact that there has never been much ladder difference between the two sides, it has become common QClash practice from both clubs to reject any suggestions of being favourites.
Nothing but percentage separates the two sides on the ladder but there appears to be a gulf in perception.
Certainly the Lions, who have lost five games by seven points or less this season, feel their ladder position should be different.
They have identified that they aren't grabbing the big moments like better sides do and that will be a focus of their training over summer, but it still rankles them to be stuck down in the cellar.
Witherden said the club had analysed performances since the bye and believed they ranked within the group of clubs challenging for the top eight.
"We had a look at the last six to eight weeks and are sitting within the top eight or 10 teams in the competition and we feel like that is where we are at the moment,'' he said.
"It is kind of frustrating and sour to be finishing the season on, hopefully six wins, because we feel like we could have already had nine or 10.
"But we have identified there are a few key areas that we need to clean up and focus on over the pre-season that will hold us in good stead for next season and we should be able to turn those close losses into wins.''
Witherden said the Suns' five-point Round 5 QClash victory was one example and the Lions were looking for revenge at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
"They did a bit of a number on us on our home turf last time,'' he said.
"They are also a pretty young team and both teams are looking to have a solid rivalry because we will all grow up together being similar ages.
"It is going to be a tough battle, it would be nice to get the four points but we are going to have to play our very best.''
He said there was no doubt the two sides took extra joy out of derby wins.
"You can sense the angst out on the field, they love beating us and we love beating them,'' he said.
"It is good because we know a lot of those boys and you get competitive with people you know as well.''
Brisbane will be without defender Darcy Gardiner, who dislocated his shoulder in Saturday night's 31-point loss to Collingwood.
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