Brotherly love may be in the air for Brisbane but Lions coach Chris Fagan is wary of a galvanised Fremantle ahead of Saturday’s AFL clash at the Gabba.
Fagan could not hide his excitement after adding another chapter to Brisbane’s long history of siblings at the club, predicting a big future for debutant Tom Berry – younger brother of leadership-group member Jarrod.
After impressing in two intra-club matches, 20-year-old Tom will join his brother on the interchange but is expected to be unleashed in the forward line in their round-two clash with the Dockers.
The Berry boys join a long list of footballing family at the Lions, who have boasted the likes of title winners Chris and Brad Scott, along with Michael and Brett Voss, and the Beams brothers Dayne and Claye.
In fact the Berrys are not even the sole siblings on the Lions current list, joined as they are by Jarryd and Corey Lyons.
“It’s great to see the brothers together. Two lads from Horsham (Victoria) get the opportunity to play together and hopefully it’s the beginning of a really good partnership, not just a once-off,” Fagan said.
“He (Tom Berry) is a tough, quick pressure forward. He’ll complement guys like Charlie Cameron and Linc McCarthy and Zorks (captain Dayne Zorko) and (Cam) Rayner in our forward line.
“He will bring pressure and hardness at the footy.”
The brothers’ inclusion appears to have lifted Brisbane, but Fagan admits they will need to be at their best against the Gold Coast-based Dockers on what he believes will be a fast Gabba track.
“It’s meant to be 24 or 25 degrees and a little humidity so it will be a great physical test on the back of a short preparation,” he said.
Fagan expects the Dockers to hit the ground running when they arrive from their Gold Coast hub where they will be based for at least a month after arriving on Tuesday.
“My expectation is it will galvanise those guys, make them an even greater force,” Fagan said.
“I don’t see it (hubs) as a reason to take teams easy or think that they are not going to be able to produce their best – it may have the opposite effect.
“That’s what I am expecting from Fremantle.”
Meanwhile, premiership Hawk Grant Birchall will play his first game for Brisbane after missing their round one, 28-point loss to Hawthorn.
Dockers’ Jesse Hogan and Stephen Hill will play a scratch match on Saturday morning after missing out on the Gabba clash.
Star forward Hogan was not picked by Fremantle – who lost their season opener by six to Essendon – after a lengthy mental-health break while Hill is overcoming a quad complaint.