Brisbane great Jonathan Brown did not hold back in his brutal assessment of the Lions in 2022, warning the club has issues to address “all over the ground”.
Veteran Daniel Rich was singled out for having “no desire” to join in team defence as Brisbane’s premiership dream came crashing down in a shock 71-point loss to Geelong.
And Brown questioned the team’s “athletic profile” after they were rated one of the worst in the AFL.
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“Brisbane weren’t a preliminary final team – they were lucky to beat Richmond (in the elimination final),” Brown said On the Couch.
“I’m concerned about their run.
“It’s no secret that clubs can get access to GPS data on clubs and there is coaches in the competition that have used their data and shown their playing group when they come up against Brisbane – ‘hey, look at the difference, Brisbane are down the bottom’.
“And that’s a concern Brisbane need to address all over the ground.”
Brown said there wasn’t one area of the ground that was worse than the other with work needed across the field.
“They’ve got a forward line that they’re all goals kickers. You look at the other top teams, they’ve got three or four half forwards who can get up and down and help your turnover game,” he said.
“Midfield, (Lachie) Neale spreads pretty well but I’m not sure about the other guys and their ability to spread, and their run and create there.
“And half back behind the football – Daniel Rich is obviously challenged in that area, Keidan Coleman has been good there, when (Dayne) Zorko goes back there, he’s been challenged, Ah Chee – he’s challenged in that area. So there is running concerns.”
Nick Riewoldt highlighted a particular effort by Rich in the preliminary final loss, lamenting the lack of team defence focus.
“Brisbane’s ability to defend was an issue for them all year – and they concede 120 points in a final to Geelong,” Riewoldt said On the Couch.
“You can become a better runner, but it’s more than just putting you on the stopwatch. The other part of it is being selfless and wanting to defend.
“Have a look at Daniel Rich here (running on the wing). Do you think he wants to join in team defence? He’s still looking over going: ‘Oh I’ve got my man covered. Gary Rohan’s put 30 metres on him – they could have held hands when they crossed each other. But he had no desire to join in any team defence whatsoever.
“It’s alright when he’s got the footy and he looks beautiful because he’s a great kick.
“But time and time and time again you’ll see that from Daniel Rich having no interest in joining in on team defence.”
Brown said Brisbane’s running profile needed to improve if they wanted to challenge in 2023.
“We know, if you’re in the bottom three or four teams in the competition at running ability, that ain’t going to get it done in the last fortnight of a season,” he said.
“They might not like hearing that, but that’s just the reality of it.
“The modern game, the top teams, they’ve all got really good runners across the board – especially from their half forwards.”
Brown questioned if the Lions could be successful if they had a back half with both veterans Rich and Zorko next season.
“Dayne Zorko, at this stage of his career, now probably needs to go to half back, but then can you have Zorko and Rich both as halfback flankers? Clearly Coleman’s going to be there,” he said.
“(Their athletic profile) is a serious question mark for the Lions that they need to address.
“I don’t think they were in the top four teams of the competition at the end of the year.
“We’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. But you hope they don’t get seduced by that finish – they need to look at that list closely and look at that athletic profile.”