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Lions fume at AFL's decision to play NAB Cup final in Melbourne

Ashley Browne  March 9, 2013 11:00 PM

Post-match: Lions Watch Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss's post-match press conference
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Michael Voss is not happy the Lions have to play the NAB Cup Grand Final in Melbourne

Do you want to raise that if Gold Coast were playing this game we'd be playing in Queensland?
THE BRISBANE Lions will be back in Melbourne on Friday night to take on Carlton in the NAB Cup Grand Final, and they're not very happy about it.

With the Gabba unavailable because of cricket commitments, the Lions lobbied unsuccessfully to play the game at Metricon Stadium, but fearful of a small crowd, the AFL scheduled the game in Melbourne, much to the disgust of Lions coach Michael Voss.

"We're the only side undefeated in the end (of the NAB Cup, but) we don't get that chance to play in Queensland," he said after the 34-point win over Collingwood on Saturday night.

"It is very disappointing."

Voss was angered on two fronts. With the NRL's Brisbane Broncos drawn to play away on Friday night, the Lions had the chance to dominate the local sporting stage.

"We miss the chance to promote our game in Queensland in the south east," he said.

And with a touch of mischief, he said the AFL might have ruled differently if Gold Coast had won through.

"Do you want to raise that if Gold Coast were playing this game we'd be playing in Queensland?" he asked.

The AFL crunched its numbers during the week and forecast a crowd of about 25,000 for a Lions-Blues final at Etihad, compared to less than 10,000 in Queensland.

But the League will come under fire for its finals scheduling once again, just as it did before last year's Grand Final when Hawthorn was given a day less to prepare for the decider than the Sydney Swans, despite finishing on top of the ladder.

"We're happy to come here because we have a Victorian support base and they're terrific supporters and we're trying to grow our brand," Voss said.

"But the NRL has started its season and we have two teams that aren't playing in Queensland (on Friday) and we haven’t played a home match at all and we're not going to.

"That leaves me quite angry because I have been up there for 22 years and we had the chance to put a great marketing event for our and our code, but we're playing in Melbourne."

The Collingwood coaching staff found themselves debating the likely venue for the final as the game petered out and Nathan Buckley indicated his surprise when he learned the game would be in Melbourne.

"Clearly they are the undefeated side and should have had the home ground advantage, so the game should be at Metricon. 'Vossy' has every right to be disappointed," he said.  

Ashley Browne is a senior writer for AFL Media. @afl_hashbrowne