Carlton won’t be heading north for a holiday this weekend, wary of the Lions’ ability to suffocate opponents, assistant coach John Barker says.
The Lions caused the upset of the season in round 8, beating the free-wheeling Essendon line-up, despite losing the inside 50 count 39-61.
Barker said he expected more of the same at the GABBA on Saturday night, having seen first-hand the Lions’ ability in the NAB Cup grand final.
“They’ve got an ability, when they roll their sleeves up, to put enough pressure on teams to shut down their uncontested ball,” Barker told Crocmedia’s Sportsday.
“We think they’re a very good team, they did a very good job against us in the NAB Cup grand final, albeit obviously there’s going to be a lot of personnel changes.
“Essendon is a team that had a lot of space through the early stages of the season and Brisbane did really well in shutting their space down.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us on Saturday night.
Forward coach Barker said he would put time into negating experienced players such as Jed Adcock and Daniel Merrett who played loose in defence at times for the Lions against the Bombers.
“The Bombers won quite a few clearances but Brisbane, through Merrett and Adcock, at times just had that numerical advantage inside 50,” he said.
“You could probably write off 10-15 of those entries as not being very effective by the sheer fact they were kicking to Brisbane’s numbers quite a bit.”
Barker said he hoped to see more of captain Marc Murphy in attack, but conceded it was a ploy in the absence of pressure forwards David Ellard and Chris Yarran.He said the Blues would learn more on the availability of key midfielders Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Carrazzo after their main training sessions Wednesday.