Suns won’t waste energy on ‘soft’ sledge
TOUGH-as-teak midfielder David Swallow said it is not the Suns' way to publicly disrespect an opponent and his side wouldn't waste energy responding to a gibe from Lion Nick Robertson.
Robertson breathed new life into a QClash battle between the AFL's 16th and 17th placed teams by labelling the Suns "soft" and suggesting they took a "backward step" when opponents went hard at the footy.
Not since Lions great Simon Black's "mercenaries" call on former teammates Michael Rischitelli and Jared Brennan ahead of the first derby has the pre-game build-up involved such a personal sledge.
But Gold Coast veteran Swallow, considered one of the toughest and fairest players in the competition, said Robertson's barb would have no bearing on the way his side played at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
"None at all, we will just play hard and fair footy,'' he said.
"We pride ourselves on being a contested ball side, we will pay the ball and that's all we will do.
"We won't waste any energy on this.
"To be honest, we respect all opposition clubs. That is the way we go about it."
Robertson received a clip from coach Chris Fagan and was then hauled before the Lions' leadership group for lobbing a grenade down the highway at the Suns.
Brisbane's core values include being humble and respectful, and the rugged defender was bluntly told by his senior teammates that he had broken the code with his comments.
However, it is understood honesty is another Lions value, and past players say the 23-year-old shouldn't be hung for speaking his mind.
Former Lion Alastair Lynch said it had added a new level of interest to the Queensland derby and it reminded him of former teammate Jason Akermanis, who routinely earned the ire of his coach for his outspoken nature.
Not surprisingly, Akermanis loved it.
And he reckons there are few tougher players in the competition than Robertson, who will have no trouble backing up his comments.
"I heard Chris (Fagan) say the other week we are in the entertainment business. Well, no one was really talking about the clash til last night, so a bit more banter doesn't hurt,'' he said.
"He'll go out and play hard footy and no one will care. His standard of hardness is right up there.''
Brisbane went into damage control on Friday with Stefan Martin, who was supposed to be fronting a press conference ahead of his 100th game as a Lion, instead distancing the club from Robertson's "soft" sledge.
Martin said the comments had missed the mark after the Lions lost both contested ball and clearances in the season's first QClash won by the Suns.
"No doubt they're going to use it as motivation, but we can't control that any more,'' he said.
"If they come out hard at us, we're just going to go back at them and we'd want to do that anyway.
"We'll meet that challenge head on."
Watch every match of every round of the 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. SIGN UP NOW >