A phone conversation with Michael Voss while standing on top of a ladder has Jonathan Brown wary.
But the Brisbane Lions great still thinks his old team, and the tall forwards he all-but wrote off earlier this year, have proved themselves ready to win the club’s first flag in 20 years.
The Lions play Carlton in Saturday’s preliminary final at the Gabba, Blues coach Voss the captain when Brisbane last won a premiership in 2003.
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Carlton have won 11 of 12 to reach this point, historically moving from fourth-last in the 15th round to finish in fifth place.
Former teammate Brown took a call from Voss this week while the retired full forward was painting atop a ladder.
“I’m so happy for Fly (Collingwood coach and another former Lion Craig McRae) but especially Vossy, considering the headlines in the middle of the year were ‘sack Voss’,” he said.
“It’s a great story; he believes the resilience they’ve developed on the back end of their bad run was the catalyst.
“It’s going to be tough to regroup and go again. But he’s not satisfied. He wants to go all the way and that’s important.”
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Michael Voss and Jonathan Brown have shared a phone call ahead of the Brisbane-Carlton blockbuster. Credit: Getty
Brown was critical of Brisbane and particularly forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood after a poor round-three loss to the Bulldogs.
“No, they’re not (premiership key forwards),” he told Fox Footy in April.
“I’ve got serious doubts … any key forward needs to be reliable and predictable to his teammates – and I’m not seeing reliable and predictable teammates in Hipwood and Daniher at the moment.”
The pair have responded and Brown’s tune has changed, Hipwood managing a career-best 40 goals this season and Daniher (56) booting five to star in their qualifying final win.
He said Daniher’s ability to play in the ruck and get more involved, made possible by off-season shoulder surgery, had enhanced his threat up front.
Brisbane forwards Eric Hipwood and Joe Daniher have won the respect of Brown. Credit: AAP
“All big forwards want to know they can handle that,” Brown said of Daniher’s composure against Port Adelaide two weeks ago.
“Since the bad loss to the Bulldogs – they copped a fair bit of criticism – but they’ve played like big blokes since.”
Brisbane, undefeated in 11 home games this season, have made three preliminary finals in the last four seasons but are yet to reach a grand final under coach Chris Fagan.
“I think so (they can win a flag); they’ve got the belief,” Brown said.
“I think they had hope in previous years.”
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