GUN Brisbane draftee Hugh McCluggage says the Lions have no fears of the Western Bulldogs and want to ruin their premiership defence at the Gabba.
Brisbane have been bolstered by the return of Dayne Zorko from suspension and defender Dan McStay from a shoulder injury as well as teenagers McCluggage, Jarrod Berry and Eric Hipwood who were all rested for last week’s trip to Perth.
The club’s top draft pick last year at No.3, McCluggage said the trio supported the club’s decision to give them a rest.
He believes Brisbane could get on a roll over the last month and not only avoid the wooden spoon but also shape the final eight.
The last time the Lions played the Bulldogs they lead by 32 points at half-time before running out of steam in the final quarter.
“We think we are in a good spot to give it a good crack,’’ McCluggage said.
“They have won their last couple and are trying to make a run into finals, but hopefully we can break that and ruin it for them.
“We were in front half way through the last quarter last time before we faded out and we feel like we’re playing better as a team now.
“We want to improve and every win shows we are growing as a team, we feel we have got a good chance to win a few more games before the end of the season.
“I have only seen positive signs about where we are heading ever since I got here.’’
McCluggage says he has been reasonably content with his first season in the AFL but was hoping for greater consistency.
“It is a pretty crazy time in your first year at a club, I have really learnt a lot,’’ he said.
“I probably wasn’t as consistent as I wanted in the first half of the season but I have played some decent games and I think I can continue to build over the final month.’’
Lions coach Chris Fagan has repeatedly said he wanted to avoid the wooden spoon and the prospect of losing out on a No.1 draft pick did not bother him.
Two years ago the Lions were shock victors against the Bulldogs late in the season which cost them the top pick.
“People talk about the No.1 draft pick, but sometimes the No.2 draft pick is better than the No.1 draft pick, or the No.10 is better,’’ he said.
“We don’t want to get caught up in that, it’s not healthy to think that way.’’
Meanwhile, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said some lingering soreness from a mid-season knee clean-out was the reason skipper Bob Murphy was named as an emergency to take on the Lions.
Murphy has played the past three games for the premiers but the short turnaround from Sunday’s victory against Essendon had meant he wasn’t quite 100 per cent.
He said the 35-year-old was fit to play if one of several sore team mates were ruled-out.