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AFL Wrap: Buddy is bloody good; Sledge runs risk of backfiring; Bolton condemns fashion fail

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Published by James Matthey, 17 August on news.com.au

BRISBANE Lions star Nick Robertson has sledged the Gold Coast ahead of the Queensland derby this weekend, labelling the Suns “soft”.

Robertson accused players in the league’s newest team of shirking their responsibilities on the field, taking aim at their lack of courage. He also said there is a genuine dislike between the rivals, setting the scene for a fiery Q Clash on the glitter strip on Saturday night.

“I think they take a bit of backwards step when blokes go hard at the footy,” Robertson told Macquarie Sports Radio. “I hope they hear that too.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them on the weekend and to be completely honest, I reckon they’re soft.

“We both can’t stand each other.

“It’s just a rivalry, they reckon they’re the team in Queensland and so do we.”

But Lions coach Chris Fagan was no fan of his player’s pre-match barbs. “I was none too happy … at all,” Fagan told 3AW’s Sportsday.

“It doesn’t reflect our view of the Gold Coast Suns.

“He’s probably said those things and now regrets them. Nick will learn a valuable lesson from it.

“He’s going to front up on the weekend and it’s going to be on. He’s gotta put his head over the footy.”

Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin conceded Robertson went too far and expects Suns players will target him physically at Metricon Stadium as a result.

“It’s not a view the club shares and Fages made that crystal clear,” Martin told reporters on Friday. “He regrets what he said and it’s not something the club thinks about them.

“A lot of their stuff is quite good in terms of congested possessions and clearance. When they’re winning they do well at those hard elements of the game.

“They beat us earlier in the year, so we can definitely not call them soft.”

The spotlight will be on Robertson.

Essendon legend Tim Watson said Robertson’s “derogatory” sledging may come back to haunt the Lions because it will give the Suns extra motivation.

“You feel as a player and a coach, you’ve actually given motivation to the opposition team. That’s what you do feel,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.

“Sheeds (former Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy) used to do this all the time, he used to bake teams all the time and particularly Hawthorn.

“Any time we were about to play them, there would be some bloody story that would come out where he would be negative or somebody from Essendon would be negative about Hawthorn, and we always felt, as players, it just made our job that much harder.

“It does make a difference. This game is played on raw emotion, you can talk about all the strategies and tactics you like, but there is this raw emotion part about the game that still is activated when somebody says something derogatory about another team.”

Suns midfielder Jack Bowes bit his tongue when asked about Robertson’s comments. “You’re buying into a bit of talk. It’s obviously his opinion,” Bowes told reporters.

“Obviously both teams are on four wins at the moment.

“One thing we do do as a footy club is respect all opposition.”

 

COACH CONDEMNS FOOTY FASHION FAIL

Carlton’s new look hasn’t been well received.

EVEN Carlton coach Brendon Bolton is no fan of his team going from blue to grey, calling for the club to revert to its traditional colours after a fashion experiment gone horribly wrong.

Carlton has been widely slammed for wearing an alternative “wolf grey” strip three times this season, aborting its standard navy blue. In pre-season the grey shorts were on show but the jumper soon followed suit in 2018.

AFL great Robert Walls labelled the crime against fashion “disgraceful” during the week and supporters and footy commentators haven’t been shy in slamming the Blues for the new look, which it trotted out most recently in last weekend’s loss to Fremantle.

Bolton said he doesn’t like the grey guernsey and hopes CEO Cain Liddle follows through on reports he is looking for a new away strip next season.

“I agree (with Walls), I don’t like the jumper. I like navy blue and the white emblem on the front,” Bolton said. “I’m a traditionalist, I reckon it’s a powerful jumper. I think it’s the most iconic jumper in the competition. I love our navy blue jumper.

“I’m not dealing with that space but if you’re asking me for my opinion and what I feel, I love the navy blue. That’s our iconic jumper.

“It’s probably the most iconic jumper in Australia.”

 

BUDDY IS BLOODY GOOD

Franklin is as good as it gets.

They don’t come any better than Lance Franklin. Not just today, but perhaps ever.

That’s the assessment of veteran AFL journalist Mike Sheahan, who is marvelling at what the mercurial Sydney forward is capable of on the footy field.

Franklin had 19 touches and two majors in the Swans’ win over Melbourne last weekend and the week prior he bagged a six-goal haul to lead the Bloods to a nailbiting victory over Collingwood.

Franklin has long been lauded for his ability to do far more than just loiter near the goal square and poach six-pointers when the ball heads deep inside forward 50. His work rate to get up and down the ground, athleticism and willingness to create opportunities for teammates are just as impressive as his ability to slot long bombs through the big sticks.

Sheahan mentioned Franklin in the same breath as North Melbourne and Adelaide legend Wayne Carey, regarded as one of the greatest players ever, saying the Swans target man can do things no other player can.

“If I had to pick them, I’m not saying he (Franklin) would go ahead of the Duck (Carey) for value over the entire career, but I think he (Franklin) plays football at a level we haven’t seen,” Sheahan told SEN Breakfast.

“The older you get the less inclined you are to make sweeping statements but I was at the MCG on Sunday and I saw him on telly the previous week, I don’t think anyone in the history of the game has been able to do the things Buddy can do.

“He has improved his marking now, he is better overhead.

“Who else is 6-foot-5 and can run like he can, kick it further than anyone who has ever kicked it and is so good as a field kick?”

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