Brisbane Lions defender Daniel Merrett fears Lance Franklin will be out to make amends for his quiet Sydney debut in Saturday’s AFL practice clash.
Forget Sydney fans, the person most concerned by Lance Franklin’s underwhelming Swans debut was Daniel Merrett.
The Brisbane Lions defender shuddered at the prospect of Franklin making amends for his quiet display in last week’s AFL pre-season loss to West Coast in which he was reduced to mere mortal status by Mitch Brown.
Unfortunately for Brisbane, Franklin looks set to bounce back against the Lions in Saturday’s pre-season clash at Burpengary, north of Brisbane.
No prizes for guessing who is in the mix to mark the four-time All-Australian.
“That’s perfect for us, him having a quiet game,” Merrett said with tongue in cheek.
“He will be ready to come out roaring this weekend. I am looking forward to it.”
Merrett usually matched up against Jarryd Roughead when Brisbane took on Franklin’s former team Hawthorn before Buddy became Sydney’s $10 million man.
Still, Merrett said he had learned plenty on the rare one-on-one occasions with Franklin – usually the hard way.
One way or another, Merrett said Sydney would provide a gauge in their final pre-season hit-out ahead of their daunting season opener against Hawthorn in Launceston on March 22.
“That’s what you want, to try and get the best out of yourself in preparation for round one,” said Merrett, back from ankle surgery that prematurely ended his 2013 season.
“This will let us know where we are at at this time of year.”
An inexperienced Lions were thrashed by 131 points by Hawthorn in their opening pre-season game before the injection of 10 senior players helped Brisbane thump an undermanned Gold Coast by 47 points 10 days later.
“I definitely have itchy feet, there’s been a big gap between games,” Merrett said.
“This pre-season has really stretched out.
“You are treading water a little bit. The guys are trying to get the balance right between staying fit and being fresh for round one.”
Meanwhile, the Lions on Tuesday displayed their Brisbane Bears inspired heritage guernsey to be worn against Essendon in round eight at the Gabba.