Brisbane coach Michael Voss will not condemn Daniel Rich for his two-game rough play suspension, foreshadowing a brutal local derby against Gold Coast by encouraging his players to 'walk the line'.
Rich faces a fortnight on the sidelines for pushing an airborne Clint Jones, who was already over the boundary, into the fence at the Gabba in the Lions' loss to St Kilda on Saturday night.
While he did not approve of the midfielder's aggressive actions, Voss said on Monday he would prefer his players to push the legal boundaries rather than skirting confrontation and physicality.
"We've got to find the line of what is really true combat," he said.
"You just hope you don't go over too often so that you're getting players reported and obviously the line's been broken there - but certainly as competitors you're going to walk that line.
"For a long period of time we've probably walked too far on the other side of the line.
"As a competitor you've just got to find the line that works for you. I know without it, you'll never finish top four.
"You encourage your players to be able to play in a manner that is relentless in the way they approach the footy.
"You want that sort of atmosphere and intrigue around the game.
"I think that's what people come to see, and that's what's going to draw people to this game."
Brisbane will face the Suns for the first time ever at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, and both sides are coming off impressive games.
While Gold Coast cult hero Karmichael Hunt stole the headlines with his after-the-siren winner against Richmond, the Lions put in a gallant shift against the Saints only to fall 13 points short.
Voss said his men took the loss to heart, but are ready to right wrongs against the Suns this weekend.
"Looking at the players and their response after the game, always as a coach you're sitting there saying you hope the players are hurting," he said.
"Categorically you can say that it hurt them a fair bit.
"Any time you put an effort into something and put it all on the line, as our players were doing, it always hurts at the end.
"But it doesn't mean you don't turn up the next week and try and do the same thing.
"For us it's about creating winning habits. There's a genuine want to finish the season strong.
"Every time you get to sing the song it consolidates that little bit of extra belief in what the players can do."It was a pretty important match on Saturday and we weren't quite good enough to get the result, but this one is pretty important for both clubs as well."