Mitch Robinson will be watching from the sidelines for the Lions. Picture: AAP Images
Mitch Robinson will be watching from the sidelines for the Lions. Picture: AAP Images

Lions can’t replace ‘unique beast’ Robinson

CHRIS Fagan said there isn't a club in the AFL who can replace a player like Mitch Robinson but warned semi-final foes GWS the Lions are as tough as any side in the competition with or without the fiery Tasmanian.

Fagan has to find someone to fill the high-octane winger's role and admits there isn't a like-for-like replacement.

"He is a unique beast in that way,'' he said.

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"I don't think any club in the AFL, if they had a Mitch Robinson-style player playing for them, could replace him because he is so unique.

"So we know we can't 100 per cent do that, but we will bring a guy into the team who will have his own strengths and be able to play to those.''

Robinson's aggression would come in handy against the Giants, who displayed their physicality by outmuscling the Bulldogs in their elimination final victory - in particular paying extra attention to star Dog Marcus Bontempelli.

 

Mitch Robinson reacts after his injury against Richmond. Picture: Getty Images
Mitch Robinson reacts after his injury against Richmond. Picture: Getty Images

But Fagan says while his side was young, they feared no opponent and had repeatedly proven their toughness throughout the season.

The last side to try to intimidate the Lions with over the top physicality was Port Adelaide in Round 17.

The Power went hard after Lachie Neale but Brisbane rallied around their star midfielder and blasted the home side off the Adelaide Oval in what Fagan labelled the best win of the season.

He does not feel aggression and hardness at the footy was a trait unique to GWS.

"It is not just their style, every side that plays in the final plays aggressively because everything is on the line.

"So that's the expectation we come into the game with.

Fagan on the training paddock. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Fagan on the training paddock. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) Chris Hyde

"We don't just rely on Mitch Robinson to be tough. We are a tough team and that is a reputation we have earned this year, and I think it is pretty widely accepted that, when we play, we play hard.

"I am not concerned about our toughness in a finals situation''

The Lions are now in a do-or-die situation against the resurgent Giants, who again look capable of beating any side.

Fagan said he did not feel the club's achievements this year would be tarnished if they suffered a straight sets exit from their first finals campaign in a decade.

"I don't think so,'' he said.

"It depends on how you play in the finals, they are very hard games to win.

"The team we came up against last weekend are a very experienced finals team. The Giants have been there for four or five years now, so we understand that.

"It is all about how you play. Yes, you want to win, and you would rather win a final than go out in straight sets.

"But, in all honesty, you have to judge our team's performance on the effort and competitive nature of it, and on the weekend I thought we were great in that regard.''

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