Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says he’s unsure if the events of the last Q-Clash will take their AFL rivalry with Gold Coast to the next level.
The Suns host the Lions on Saturday afternoon at Metricon Stadium, the first meeting between the two sides since Steven May earned a five-week suspension for infamously shirtfronting Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin back in round four.
Tensions have simmered in Queensland but whether things will boil over come the first bounce remains to be seen.
“I guess we’ll find out, won’t we, whether it’s going to linger on into this time. I don’t sense that from the playing group, but you know what it’s like when they’re out on the footy ground – anything can happen,” Leppitsch told reporters on Friday.
“We might get ourselves up a little bit more for this particular game, I don’t know.
“It’s always a spiteful game whenever we play Gold Coast, we know that, being the local rivalry.
“But more than anything, winning is the most important thing for us at this point in time.”
Both sides have struggled since the last Q-Clash – it was Brisbane’s last win, and defeat sent Gold Coast on a long losing streak that only ended last weekend with a breakthrough win over St Kilda.
The Suns have made one change with Jarrod Garlett replacing the injured Matt Rosa (hamstring), while for the Lions, Dayne Zorko returns after missing last week for Josh Walker, and debutant Reuben William comes in for Ben Keays.
William, 18, is the latest talent to roll off the Lions’ academy production line.
Born in South Sudan, he moved to Brisbane with his family at the age of five following the death of his father during the civil war.
An exciting and aggressive rebounding defender, it is a happy coincidence he will play his first match during multicultural round and his phone has been ringing off the hook with well-wishes from other AFL players of non-Australian extraction.
“I know I’ve got 21 of my teammates out there to guide me, I know I won’t be as nervous as I am now when I get out there,” William said.