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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

"The window might have closed." Premiership Eagle on flag contender

Former Eagle Peter Sumich says it's now or never for the Brisbane Lions to win a flag, believing the premiership window is gradually closing. 


The Brisbane Lions finished in the top 8 five consecutive years, making its first Grand Final since 2004 last year against Collingwood. 


Ultimately Collingwood shattered Brisbane’s flag hopes to the tune of four points after a well-fought-out contest all game. 


Chris Fagan’s men have spent the off-season looking to go one better, and have recently recruited three-time Richmond premiership captain Trent Cotchin to share his leadership expertise.


Sumich, who won two flags with West Coast, told Sport FM Brisbane may be “in trouble” in the future should they fall short again this season. 


“They've still got a fairly young list, but I think the window is right there for them, it's been there for the last probably three years and made one grand final out of that,” he said.


“We're only talking four points, aren't we? The difference from winning and losing a grand final, isn't much, but it's a long way off because you're starting with zero points. All 18 sides have got zero on the board and they start pressured and they've got to mentally get themselves up to contend. 


“They should be in the grand final this year. If they're not, well, the window might have closed on them.”


As round 0 kicks off, fans have several highly anticipated clashes on offer across four matches, including two preliminary final rematches.

On Friday night, Brisbane takes on Carlton in a preliminary final rematch at the Gabba, while GWS will seek revenge for their preliminary final loss against Collingwood on Saturday evening.


New Sydney recruit Brodie Grundy comes up against his former side, Melbourne on Thursday evening, while Gold Coast’s new coach Damien Hardwick faces his old team, Richmond, on Saturday. 


Sumich says he likes the concept of the Round 0 and the matches on offer for fans. 


“They've picked the Hardwick game, this game tonight with Grundy, so they've just picked certain games to start the season, which I think is very good,” he said.


“I just think it's a great concept and hopefully they continue. We might get a West Coast or Fremantle game in this round next year because someone's left or someone's come over as a recruit and you're playing against that side.”


Round 0 was designed to grow the game in New South Wales and Queensland, with all four games occurring in those states. 


As the NRL headed to Las Vegas in an attempt to grow the game internationally, the AFL capitalised on that as an opportunity to capture the states’ attention.


While Sumich approves of the earlier start for the AFL, he also believes the AFL needs to look into opportunities to grow internationally. 


“You look at what the NRL did, they had two games over in Vegas, and they're up and running," he said. 


“I thought that was unbelievable what they did to go over there and expose their game to the Americans who would have loved it. 


“I think that'll grow and the AFL has got to look to do those things. We've got to look to do something with a couple of sides to expose our game.”


IMAGE: FILE


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