Tom Rockliff of the Lions in action during the round 14 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons at The Gabba on July 1, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.
Tom Rockliff of the Lions in action during the round 14 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons at The Gabba on July 1, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

Rockcliff claims Lions will toughen up in time for Crows clash

AFTER copping a 68-point thrashing from the Western Bulldogs to open the season, Brisbane Lions young gun Tom Rockcliff says fans can expect a much tougher approach against Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Rockcliff said it was unacceptable that Bulldogs tagger Nick Lower was allowed to keep Lions midfielder Daniel Rich to just eight possessions.

"If someone is going to pick on one of our blokes, we've got to make sure he's in for a long day," Rockcliff said.

"I don't think anyone hardly bumped into Lower at all.

"We have to make sure that whoever the 22 players are that go out to play on Saturday, we have to stamp our authority on the Gabba in front of our home fans."

The 2011 club best-and-fairest winner admitted the Bulldogs had beaten Brisbane in "all areas of the game", but said the insipid display had nothing to do with a hangover from winning the NAB Cup.

"I think the coaches had us in a really good mindset - we just couldn't handle their attack on the footy early."

While Rockcliff said the Lions would bring a harder edge on Saturday, the Crows, beaten by 35 points by Essendon in round one, have also looked for ways to improve the physical side of their game.

Coach Brenton Sanderson said the club had turned to former rugby union internationals Jim Love and Darrel Shelford to help improve the players' tackling.

Despite making it a focus in the off season, Adelaide was beaten 73-47 in the tackling stakes by the Bombers.

Sanderson said Love and Shelford had been in Adelaide to study the club's football program, and he had taken the opportunity for them to give the players a tutorial on tackling.

BUOYED by its 13-point win against St Kilda on Saturday night, the Gold Coast Suns yesterday announced it had extended the contracts of Rory Thompson, Matt Shaw and Aaron Hall until the end of the 2015 season.

Suns general manager of football operations Marcus Ashcroft said the club was thrilled to tie up the trio.

Thompson, who was outstanding against Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt, said it had been an incredible journey since he joined the club as a gangly 17-year-old in 2009.

"It's been a massive few years and I'm really excited about the future and where the club is heading," Thompson said.



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