HARD-at-it Brisbane defender Nick Robertson wants the Lions to take the fight to Hawthorn today from the opening bounce.
After hitting the ground running with a seven-goals-to-one first term in the round-one QClash with the Gold Coast, the Lions have been jumped by Port Adelaide and Sydney in the past two weeks, both opponents kicking seven goals to two in the opening quarter.
"We do bring that physicality, but just a bit too late at the moment," the 21-year-old said.
"We've addressed those first quarters. We really want to hit them from the start, throw the first punch."
Not literally, of course. Although Robertson knows all about punches.
He got a sly tap on the chin from Lance Franklin during last week's clash at the SCG.
Robertson had been left in the Swans' forward-50m alone with the much larger Franklin.
A push from the young Lion to put "Buddy" off his game led to a scuffle that resulted in the superstar forward eventually being knocked on his backside.
"A few of my close mates were getting in my ear, saying 'you couldn't do that to me', 'don't get too high on yourself'," Robertson laughs.
"But I think he took a bit of a dive. I think he was playing it up. He was smarter than I was."
Robertson gave away a free kick, which resulted in a goal.
"We want that respect back from the AFL community, not just be a walkover side," he said.
"But you've got to be smart at the same time. I cost the boys a goal from those actions."
Likened to sidelined teammate Mitch Robinson, Robertson has been renowned for his aggression since being drafted by Brisbane in 2013 - although he hasn't always been able to showcase it on the big stage.
There were hamstring and shoulder issues in 2015 and then neck and knee setbacks in 2016.
He's only played 33 senior games, albeit all seven so far this season.
"All footballers get frustrated when they get injured and can't be out there with the boys," he said.
"It's pretty important you stay fresh in the mind.
"It's been good having no injuries ... touch wood."
Robertson is loving his football under new coach Chris Fagan, who will face his old side in Launceston today.
"It's a lot more exciting now," he said.
"Everyone's enjoying footy and buying into the direction we're heading as a club.
"Everyone's really tight with Fages. He's very approachable, always has time for you. That's what you need."
Robertson is part of a young defensive unit Fagan has put his faith in.
"We're very tight. We all feed off each other. We'll all continue to develop. In the coming years we'll be a really solid backline," he said.
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