AFL:Lions keep noses clean
By Laine Clark
BRISBANE, Jan 7 AAP - Respect may still be the ultimate goal for the Brisbane Lions but young gun Daniel Rich reckons they have already ticked one box for 2013.
Rich said the Lions could only make the competition take notice if they ended their four-year finals drought but was not going to make any bold claims at their first day back at training after the Christmas break.
However, Rich thought the Lions had shown the right team mentality to achieve the goal after emerging from the end-of-year interval without any players making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The AFL has been left red-faced by a string of off-season incidents.
Most recently Gold Coast Suns midfielder Harley Bennell was charged during New Year's Eve celebrations in Western Australia after a nightclub fight broke out.
"The good thing has been that we had no issues over the break," Rich said on Monday.
"It's been a focus here at the Lions that you train hard and prepare well and when you have a break you don't do anything stupid.
"I can't speak for other clubs but we have had a good attitude over the break, and not got into trouble which has obviously been seen at other clubs.
"And that sort of thing is player driven.
"You shouldn't have to rely on the coach being like a school teacher - if it is driven by the senior players the younger guys follow."
The Lions took giant strides last season, finishing 2012 with three straight victories to boost their win tally to 10 - six more than the previous year.
Rich believed finals footy was the only way to ensure the former three-time champions gained respect once again.
But he was not going to mention the "f" word - yet.
"It's about putting words into actions," he said.
"I am not sure what other teams think of us to be honest.
"But it's always about earning respect if you are not making finals - that's why we are here.
"These next few months are about achieving those long term goals."
AAP lc/rf/jms 07-01-13 1408