AFL: Lions to meet Kangaroos at ‘skinny’ Norwood Oval

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Midfielder Deven Robertson and ruckman Darcy Fort have been made the scapegoats for Brisbane’s third straight loss of the AFL season.

The pair have been dropped for Friday’s Gather Round battle with North Melbourne at Norwood Oval.

Replacing them are midfielder Jimmy Tunstill and the versatile Darcy Gardiner.

Tunstill, 20, has made just five AFL appearances, the most recent of which was in the Lions’ 41-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns at Carrara in round 20 last season.

Gardiner, who has named on the half-back flank but could spend time in the forwards, played in Brisbane’s opening two matches of the season before being dropped to the Lions’ VFL team last weekend.
Lions star Zac Bailey said Brisbane was intent on kick-starting its season by beating the Kangaroos, who have also lost their opening three matches of their campaign.

“We’ve obviously got a bit of work to do,” Bailey said on Thursday.

“We’ve started (zero) and three, so it’s probably not the ideal start but there’s still so much footy to be played … so we’re not too worried at this stage.

“We’ve got an opportunity this week to hopefully get a win and get our season started.”

Bailey said the Lions would need to adjust to the “skinny” Norwood Oval.

“That changes the way you want to play sometimes,” he said.

“There’s different ways you go about your ball movement in offence and defence, and you defend differently.

“It’s a really different ground to what we’re usually playing on, so you just have to take those things into consideration.”

Bailey said the Lions also needed to make better use of the ball in their forward 50-metre zone.

“Last week (in the 20-point loss to Collingwood) we probably hurt ourselves with the way we moved the ball inside 50,” he said.

“That probably wasn’t up to standard, and that’s why our forwards probably weren’t able to get into the game.

“We’ve got another opportunity this week to hopefully get back to what we were doing last year because last year we were one of the most threatening forward lines in the game, so we just need to get back to that.”

Bailey reiterated that there wasn’t a split in Brisbane’s playing camp in the aftermath of last year’s end-of-season players’ trip to the USA.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a bit of a rift in the team. We’re closer than ever at the moment.,” he said.

“We put all that stuff to rest at the start of the week, and our focus was on North Melbourne, and to come here and hopefully get the win.”

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