THE BRISBANE Lions won everything on the stats sheet last Saturday night except the most vital piece of information and that was who scored the most points.
Wayward kicking saw them tally three goals and 10 behinds leaving them with 28 points, five adrift of the more accurate Collingwood who managed 33 points from just eight kicks at goal.
The crowd of more than 3200 was right to believe it was the Lions ‘by how much’ at halftime and that they were all going to get the free Big Mac that was promoted if the women won.
Coach Craig Starcevich also couldn’t believe they’d let a big lead slip saying “when we look back at the statistics we will be wondering how the hell we lost that one”.
Despite the crucial loss dropping them back to equal third on the competition ladder he remained confident the team would still make the finals if they could win just two of their remaining four matches.
That might sound an easy assignment, but standing in their way are the powerhouses of the competition, the Adelaide Crows and Melbourne who they will meet in the final few rounds.
Fortunately, they will be at home, although Brighton Homes Arena at Springfield is not proving the fortress for the Lions that they’d hoped it would be
In the past four matches at Springfield they have won just one game and included in those losses was the grand-final defeat last season.
This Saturday the Lions have a short trip to the Gold Coast and a loss there might well finish the women off for season ’23.
The Suns are also in finals contention in a competition which is proving to be closer than any previously played.
In a sidelight to Saturday’s night’s game Starcevich dropped two players before the game for disciplinary reasons.
Winger Jade Ellenger and youngster Poppy Boltz were benched for not meeting professional standards.
“Every now and then the team needs a bit of a wake-up call as to what’s acceptable and what’s not, and that’s what happened.”
While he refused to go into specifics about their indiscretions he said the duo suffered from a lack of sleep, “and that’s not great preparation in a professional sporting environment”.
After winning the premiership in 2021 and making a preliminary final and Grand Final in seasons six and seven in 2022, Starcevich now says there’s a gap to front-runners Adelaide and Melbourne.
“We’re scraping and scrapping to get back up in that echelon and I reckon we’ll get there eventually, but I reckon it’s better off we set our sights on just making finals in the first place,” he said.
ROUND 6: COLLINGWOOD 5.3 (33) d LIONS 3.10 (28)