Watch Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss's post-match press conference
BRISBANE Lions coach Michael Voss says his team was "sideswiped" by the Western Bulldogs in Saturday's 68-point loss at Etihad Stadium, with the result a brutal reminder that round one is a different ball game to the NAB Cup.
After winning the pre-season competition, the Lions were favoured to notch their third straight win over the Bulldogs, but their NAB Cup form seemed a distant memory in the 19.13 (127) to 7.17 (59) result.
They conceded the first six goals of the game and lost the disposals 380-304 and marks 116-54 as the Bulldogs monopolised the football in a fast-paced and clinical performance.
"It shows you that round one, the season itself, it's brutal and you can't take your eye off the ball," Voss said post-match.
"We've got to make sure that every contest we come to we're absolutely 100 per cent ready for, physically and mentally.
"What happened pre-season was a reward, but once that happens it's gone … it's completely different seasons.
"You've got to be able to build your season and building your season is about being able to come to round one and get the four points and we didn't."
Voss was particularly concerned with the Lions' inability to win the ball in the centre square with the Bulldogs winning the important centre clearances 17-8.
Tom Rockliff (33 possessions) and recruit Brent Moloney (23 and eight clearances) battled hard but had little help, with young ruckman Billy Longer exposed against Will Minson.
Daniel Rich was also well beaten by Bulldogs recruit Nick Lower, who played a disciplined run-with role and restricted the young Lion to eight disposals.
"He's got to live with it; there's no easy way through it," Voss said of Rich.
"Our centre square bounce was a major issue for us the whole night, and we couldn't get the ball back off them.
"That was particularly disappointing because it's an area that we felt we'd made a lot of ground in, certainly over pre-season.
"For us, you've got to give complete credit to how the Dogs went about it. They kept us under pressure the whole night."
Voss said the Lions needed to "understand that there's a lot of other games to come for us" and make sure their confidence didn't take a hit ahead of next Saturday's clash against Adelaide at the Gabba.
Co-captain Jonathan Brown, who had limited opportunities and was held to one goal by Jordan Roughead, said the Lions let themselves down with their kicking efficiency.
"We made mention of it at quarter-time that our set shot efficiency certainly wasn't good enough," he said.
"They built scoreboard pressure and we couldn't match it. When it was our turn to kick goals we couldn't do it.
"You could just see the Bulldogs building confidence, even their younger players. Their skill level was very good all over the field.
"We started to feel the pressure more and more and everyone would have noticed that we became quite fumbly and just had no flow to our game."
Defender Matt Maguire was walking in the rooms after being substituted with a lower left leg injury and Voss was hopeful he would be available against the Crows.
Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nathan