Starcevich expecting fiery Demons showdown

·2-min read

Brisbane defender Brandon Starcevich is ready for another explosive encounter with Melbourne in Friday night's AFL semi-final at the MCG.

The fuse for a powder keg showdown was lit in the Demons' 58-point win three weeks ago at the 'Gabba. Skirmishes were plentiful and Lions captain Dayne Zorko left Melbourne defender Harrison Petty in tears with a sledge that he later apologised for, but also said was provoked.

Starcevich was asked at a press conference in Brisbane on Wednesday about his opinion on sledging and whether he expected more fire and brimstone from the defending premiers.

"I think a bit of banter here and there is pretty fine, but obviously there are things that you can and can't say," he said.

"I think it will be pretty fiery. The intensity of the finals will ramp it up. It always does...but I don't really get involved in too much of the niggle."

The Melbourne forward line has given the Lions grief in two big wins this year and the versatile Starcevich has his hands full again in a likely match-up with Demons attacker Kysaiah Pickett.

"We absolutely know how dangerous their forward line is and how they have got variety and different ways to get you," he said.

"I always set myself for a big challenge no matter who it is but there's probably none bigger than the Melbourne forward line at the moment.

"It is pretty hard to stop (Pickett). He is so dynamic. When the ball hits the deck he can do some freakish stuff.

"It is all about trying to keep him away from the drop of the ball. For a guy that agile and quick it is pretty hard to do at times but you just have to try and work him over and hopefully the ball doesn't fall his way."

Starcevich agreed that Melbourne don't just want to beat the opposition, but dominate completely.

"Absolutely, especially when they get on a roll. They were all up and about last time at the G and the crowd was spurring them on," he said.

"The only way to combat that is out-work them and beat them at the contest."

Starcevich said he was "pretty shattered" after the loss to the Demons in Brisbane and wanted to make amends.

"I definitely wasn't playing my best, and I think there were a few guys like that.

"It was good to get out there and bounce back (in the semi-final against Richmond).

"Coming up against them again, a few guys want to respond a second time."