Aker' says Lions can beat MCG hoodoo

·3-min read

Former Brisbane champion Jason Akermanis has detailed the psychological mindset the Lions must adopt to overcome their MCG hoodoo in their AFL elimination final against Melbourne.

Akermanis and the premiership winning outfits of 2001-2003 made the MCG their "home away from home" in three stunning grand final victories.

However, the Lions have not won at the ground since 2014.

"Our coach Leigh Matthews utilised a very important point that our club psychologist Dr Phil Jauncey used to make - that the feel of the dressing rooms at the G should be nothing different to what it would normally be at home," Akermanis told AAP ahead of Friday night's clash.

"There was no fanfare, no balloons and no sense that it was a knockout final or grand final. It was a simple philosophy that always worked. You'd go down to the finals when I was at the Bears and it was ridiculous how many balloons and stuff they put up."

Akermanis said "another big thing and very much a focus" for Matthews-coached teams was understanding the different playing surface at the MCG.

"What I would say to the group is, 'Remember it is the G'. The G has a different grass to the Gabba. It is a winter grass that can be quite slippery at times, and the other thing about the G is that the ball bounces completely different to the Gabba," he said.

"Before games we would do a lot of testing where the ball bounces, how it bounces and how high it bounces...just little things you don't always think about but make such a difference as you attack the ball in the open field."

Akermanis said another confidence booster for the Lions, and a reason they should not fear the MCG, was "to remember what a huge connection the Fitzroy Lions still is".

"We will have a lot of supporters there and they will be loud, so for us it is probably our second home and a feeling we never get at any other ground away from the Gabba," Akermanis said.

"It has got a unique and special feel for us."

Akermanis said the Lions "haven't played terrible" recently at the MCG and were unlucky in their seven-point loss to Richmond back in July.

"They have been in games there," he said.

"More of a concern is their opponent. The last game they played against Melbourne at the Gabba, where they got comprehensively beaten (by 58 points), the midfield battle was pretty even. The defence and the forwards were probably the let-down for the Lions.

"When they've got beaten by the Demons it was because of missed tackles. If the Lions are on, which they will be, it will be not only winning the ball but the second or third efforts to stop the overlap runs and 45 degree kicks that Melbourne like to do."

If Brisbane wins, Akermanis expects Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage to dominate in midfield and to see a "really good effort from (ruckman) Darcy Fort".

"The key will be if the Lions' smaller, agile forwards like Charlie Cameron, (Lincoln) McCarthy, Zac Bailey and Cam Rayner are best-on-ground, or if most goals come from that group," he said.