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Lions' side leaves McKenna wary of late inclusions

Michael Whiting  July 5, 2013 12:57 PM

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Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna expects Simon Black to be a late inclusion on Saturday

The first time (the Lions) played us, they probably didn't put a lot of time in ... they got a surprise
GOLD Coast is preparing to face Simon Black at the Gabba on Saturday night, despite the Brisbane Lions' Brownlow medallist being ruled out with a groin injury.

Black was one of five changes for the Lions ahead of the QClash, but Suns coach Guy McKenna is having none of it.

He believes Lions counterpart Michael Voss may be foxing and is preparing accordingly.

Another surprise was the recall of defender Daniel Merrett who missed last week's loss to Hawthorn with a groin injury.

Earlier in the week, Voss described his chances of playing as "unlikely".

McKenna said the Suns were preparing to play the Lions' best 22.

"We watch their training as close as we can and monitor players. You can read into it what you like," McKenna said.

"Did he not play last week to line him up for us this week? A sign of disrespect for (dropped Jordan) Lisle? I don't know.

"It is what it is. We just go out and compete against their 22 and do what we possibly can."

Lion Dayne Zorko denied he'd felt any particular pressure from the Suns, who traded him to their neighbours prior to the 2012 season.

Speaking on Friday, the 24-year-old said he'd moved on from any issues relating to his potential club.

"That's all swept under the carpet now and I'm here with Brisbane for the next three years so I'm focused on that," Zorko said.
 
He said his main aim was extending the Lions' streak over the Suns to five successive matches.

"We want to be the dominant side in Queensland, and Gold Coast are probably going better than us," he said.
 
"I think every time you play them it's even. It's a rivalry we want to keep growing."

Voss referred to the Suns as his side's "little brother" earlier in the week, and while admitting they hadn't earned the Lions' respect after four straight derby losses, McKenna said his team had grown up.

The Suns have recalled Harley Bennell (hamstring) and Luke Russell (hip) at the expense of injured Karmichael Hunt (calf) and Mav Weller (omitted).

McKenna said after an upset win in the inaugural QClash in 2011, he had no doubt the Lions had quickly taken the Suns more seriously.

"The first time they played us, they probably didn't put a lot of time in, thought 'turn up and we'll knock over this mob'," he said.

"They got a surprise and ever since then they've put in some time and effort like they've probably done with every other club.

"I think we're starting to close that gap.

"If we think we've improved, this is one of those games you should go in with some confidence knowing we can beat them."

Michael Whiting is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting