Dan McStay was feeling the crowd early against Richmond. Pic: Getty Images
Dan McStay was feeling the crowd early against Richmond. Pic: Getty Images

Lynch: Lions deserve a packed Gabba

THIS is a call to arms to all Lions supporters.

Get to the Gabba on Saturday for the final home game of what has been an incredible season and cheer the boys home.

A sellout crowd for the third game in a row would be an amazing achievement and also provide a huge boost for the players.

 

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In the matches against Geelong and Richmond there was a sizeable contingent of opposition fans but to sellout the ground against GWS will take close to 100 per cent of Lions fans.

Imagine the noise they could generate with their "Lions" chants this week.

The players deserve it. They have sent their fans home singing the team song after 10 of 12 home games this season.

It feels like the air has gone out of the bubble a little bit following last weekend's loss to Richmond.

The Lions should have plenty of support against GWS. Pic: Getty Images
The Lions should have plenty of support against GWS. Pic: Getty Images

The buzz that was around town last week has died down a little and I'm not sure why.

The reason you work so hard to finish top two is to get two home finals and a second chance and I reckon the season is still well and truly alive.

In back-to-back games the Lions got a lot right against the best team in it but just not enough for the win.

There is always a tendency to assume the side that goes into a semi-final with a win carries favouritism, but Brisbane's best can beat GWS.

They have already shown that in round 16 when they dismantled them on their own deck in a significant sign of maturity.

If they can do it there it doesn't take much imagination to see them winning at home on Saturday and advancing to their first preliminary final since 2004.

Dayne Zorko feels the love from the fans. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Dayne Zorko feels the love from the fans. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

It would be a pity if any supporters jumped off now and potentially miss the opportunity to maximise a home ground advantage for a huge finals win.

Be sure, it's an environment that the players crave and appreciate.

Richmond play in big games with huge crowds all the time, and they had a share of support on Saturday, so the likelihood of them finding a venue intimidating is probably pretty slim.

GWS on the other hand, although they have played finals the past few years, still aren't that accustomed to big crowds on a regular basis.

A full house of Lions supporters in full voice I reckon could be an unfamiliar and uncomfortable experience for them and may be just the advantage needed to get the Lions over the line.

GWS were very good against the Western Bulldogs and the challenge they pose is far greater than their finishing ladder position might suggest.

The Giants have hit their straps at exactly the right time after a mid-season form slump and played a fierce style of football that quickly put the Dogs off their game last week.

The worry for Brisbane is they suddenly have a few players out of form, and the run of luck on the injury front has ended with Mitch Robinson's absence with a hamstring complaint.

Chris Fagan will have his players ready. Photo: AAP
Chris Fagan will have his players ready. Photo: AAP DARREN ENGLAND

But coach Chris Fagan will be urging his players to look at their recent history, draw on what they continue to do well and tinker with what broke down.

The Lions, like all good sides, have become an outfit where players can come and go from the team without causing major disruptions because they are so role based.

They handled Harris Andrews' absence this season and also managed to knock over Port Adelaide, in Adelaide, without Luke Hodge or Hugh McCluggage.

Their ability to finish in the top two, to win at previously impenetrable fortresses like Giants Stadium and the Adelaide Oval, and to cope with the loss of good players are some of the achievements Fagan will be reminding his side of this week.

And it is something I'm sure fans will take on board too in the event they come up short on Saturday.

A terrific season would end on a flat note if they were bundled out in straight sets, but what cannot be overlooked is the incredible improvement we've seen to launch back into finals football.

After a year where they climbed from 15th to second, this summer will be one of genuine excitement about what the future holds.

But the only future the Lions are focusing on at the moment is Saturday night when they have another chance to take a step closer to their ultimate goal in 2019.

News Corp Australia

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