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Staker set for big year

Thursday, 3rd March, 2011

LOTS OF POSITIVES: Brent Staker, the West Broken Hill boy playing for the Brisbane Lions, has notched up 132 AFL games, including 110 with his former club West Coast Eagles between 2003 and 2009. LOTS OF POSITIVES: Brent Staker, the West Broken Hill boy playing for the Brisbane Lions, has notched up 132 AFL games, including 110 with his former club West Coast Eagles between 2003 and 2009.

By Peter Argent

Brent Staker gained a lot of satisfaction from a consistent 2010. His on-field performances and self-belief grew from playing all 22 games in his first year with the Brisbane Lions.

He took a big step forward and finished seventh in the Lions' best and fairest count.

"Yes, it fair to say, from a personal perspective, there were a lot of positives to come out of last year," Staker told the BDT.

"My role initially was as a third tall forward with Jonathan Brown and Brendan Fevola, but because of injuries I was forced to play down back as the season progressed.

"Playing a full season of consistent football was important.

"I've done it once, now I need to back that up."

Staker said there was a young, dynamic and squad at the club this year. Even last year there were 17 new faces at the Lions, although many were senior listed players.

After his end of season meeting with senior coach Michael Voss, Staker suggested he may play a little more in defence.

Like many, Staker was taken aback by the size of the damage from the substantial flooding to his adopted state.

"To see the devastation of the flooring was unbelievable," he said.

"The gut feel of the city was flat and it was traumatic.

"People didn't expect the enormity of destruction, but the spirit of the people of Queensland has been amazing.

"As a club we helped clean up a primary school and 15 of us went around to our president Angus Johnstone's house on the Brisbane River and helped sweep out all the mud."

About Brisbane and former Carlton bad boy, Fevola, Staker believes it important that the freakish talent needs to gets his health right first.

"In 2010 Brendan lived with me. I saw both sides of him.

"The playing group hasn't been affected by his outside issues.

"We do get updated, but this is left in the club's hands.

"His biggest test is to look after his health issues first and the rest will follow."

Having been involved in a number of derbies in Perth between his former club West Coast and Fremantle, Staker is excited about the developing local rivalry between the Lions and new kids on the block, the Gold Coast Suns.

"It was good for the boys to be involved in this to try to get a competitive edge over another Queensland opponent," he said.

"In Perth the Eagles had a thriving culture and have marketed themselves well, still making a significant improvement despite being at the bottom of the ladder last year.

"In Queensland there are a number of codes flghting for their share of support.

"It is tougher to market yourself and you're fighting to keep membership.

"It is a town that likes to follow winning teams.

"On the flip side, you can go about your business with a degree of anonymity."

Having watched the first weekend of the NAB pre-season cup, Staker said he still couldn't come to grips with the free kick from the ball going out of bounds rule.

"I'm a bit of a traditionalist and believe the boundary throw is an integral part of the game," he said.

"(The new rule) makes the game too fast and confusing for both the spectators and players."

Still the 196cm, 96kg utility was keen to blow plenty of cobwebs out in the NAB Cup competition.

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