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Voss talks up young Lions midfield
Wayne Heming
19:43 AEST Fri Dec 7 2012

Brisbane coach Michael Voss has flagged the emergence of a potential premiership-winning midfield as the Lions embark on the next stage to playing finals football again.

Voss isn't predicting a fourth AFL flag for the club next season.

But he spoke excitedly about the young midfield group continuing to mature and learn behind the experience of the club's ageless veteran Simon Black.

Boom prospect Daniel Rich, vice-captain Tom Rockliff and Jack Redden are three 21-year-old midfielders who've now played more than 50 AFL games each.

Black, 33, is the only survivor of the club's famed "Fab Four" midfield of Jason Akermanis, Nigel Lappin and Voss and later joined by Luke Power.

Throw in the hard edge provided by the Scott twins, Brad and Chris, and coached by the game's toughest man Leigh Matthews, and it was an AFL dream team.

Voss, Akermanis and Black were Brownlow medallists by the time Brisbane became only the fourth club in AFL history in 2003 to win three straight premierships.

After Brendan Fevola's failed stint at the club, which many believe set the club's recovery mission back on its heels, Voss has implemented his strategies on and off the field to get the club back to contesting finals.

September action is something they've qualified for only once in eight years since their three consecutive titles.

Voss, who has stuck solid to his youth policy for the past few years, believes his side is beginning to mature.

"I've been backing it (youth) for a few years now and we've got an exciting, young midfield group," he told AAP on Friday.

"I joked about it last year that we had Simon Black at 33 years of age and our next oldest (midfielder) at 21."

Brisbane have to get two things right in 2013, according to Voss.

The first is pulling fans back to the Gabba to make it a tough venue for visiting teams.

"The second is bridging the gap between us and the better teams in the competition," he said.

"We're still losing to those teams by 40 to 60 points.

"Does that mean we close the gap by turning those games into wins?

"We'll have to wait and see.

"Certainly we must make significant ground on those teams to warrant an improvement by this group.

"We need to be able to replicate our ability to execute our game plan and to sustain physical intensity for long periods.

"There's a mental edge and physical edge to that and last year we weren't mature enough to cope with those moments last year.

"The expectation for us is that we have to be able to cope with that sort of pressure next season and I am fairly confident with another year and another pre-season under the belt these guys can certainly make it a long way."


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