Pressure on Lions as season starts
LIONS star Josh Drummond says the once-mighty triple premiers are in the same boat as every team in the pressure to perform department.
The injury-plagued Sunshine Coast product also believes the club will deliver a much-improved performance in its NAB Cup clash against Carlton at Maroochydore on Saturday.
Drummond, now back in full training after off-season hip surgery, yesterday said the Lions would field a near full-strength side in its final NAB Cup hitout ahead of a round one away clash against Melbourne and a daunting opening three rounds to the season.
Adelaide thumped a youthful Brisbane team by 51 points on the weekend, but the gun defender cautioned against reading too much into that result given the side was "very light on" in experience.
Despite finishing near the bottom of the ladder the past two seasons, Drummond insisted head coach Michael Voss and the players were not feeling extra heat.
"There's pressure on the entire playing group and the entire coaching staff," he said.
"We've got a fairly tough first half to the season.
"If we play well, it could set us up for the season … (but) I don't see us as being under more pressure than any other team."
Drummond is eyeing a round two return to top-flight action, when the Lions meet Carlton at home only five days after playing the Demons.
The side then confronts one of the toughest tests in football, a trip across the Nullarbor for a clash against Fremantle.
Drummond's career has been marred by a horrible series of injuries.
He said he was feeling good but would like to ease into the season by playing one or two reserve-grade games.
"Everything is going well. Everything is progressing each week," the 28-year-old said.
"I'm back in full training … I'm feeling nice and strong.
"Hopefully that can lead to a full year (of play)."
Meanwhile, the Lions and AFL Queensland have assured the 5000 fans who bought tickets for Saturday's sell-out clash against Carlton at the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex that the match would definitely go ahead despite concerns over the weather.
"Rain, hail or shine, they play footy, so we'll be prepared for any weather," Lions spokesman David Donaghy said.