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Long-time Lion reflects on when the QClash rivalry began

From playing in the inaugural QClash to rupturing his ACL three years later, Daniel Rich has just about seen it all against Gold Coast. 

The veteran Lion is one of just six players who will take to the Gabba on Saturday that ran out when the clubs first crossed paths in 2011. 

(For those playing at home the others are Pearce Hanley – then a Lion, now a Sun – Jarrod Harbrow, David Swallow, Michael Rischitelli and Sam Day). 

On that night, the Suns caused a huge boilover, kicking 18 goals to 17 and winning by eight points to notch just their second win as a club. 

Although four games between Brisbane and Gold Coast have been decided by less than a goal, the first clash was unquestionably the most exciting. 

Rich had 26 disposals and three goals that night, but he was upstaged by former teammate Jared Brennan, whose 31 touches, 14 clearances and a goal was enough to win the Marcus Ashcroft Medal. 

Ash McGrath kicked six second half goals in a forlorn Lions fightback and Nathan Krakouer booted five, including a spectacular mark late in the final term to give his team the lead. 

"I remember more about the build-up than I do about the match," Rich laughed when asked about it by AFL.com.au earlier this week. 

"They beat us, so I'm probably trying to wipe it from my memory." 

The "build-up" he talks of was the infamous line thrown out by Simon Black in the days before the game labelling Brennan and Rischitelli as mercenaries for heading to Brisbane's new Queensland rival. 

"Having grown up in WA you can see how big Derbies got over there," Rich said. 

"It was always exciting to potentially build something like that. 

"The early days are the hardest, having seen Showdowns and Western Derbies, you naturally want the QClash to be like that. 

"It's hard though, it needs moments and history to build that over time. 

"I think it'll get there. It's great for Queensland footy to have two teams." 

Rich has been involved in eight victories – more wins than he's had against any other opponent – but one of his career lowlights also came against the Suns. 

Just three games into Justin Leppitsch's tenure as coach, Rich ruptured his ACL at Metricon Stadium in 2014, costing him the rest of the season. 

"I remember Greg Broughton, who I played with at Subi, was the guy that came through and went under my legs," Rich said. 

"I had a bit of chuckle about that to be honest. 

"I think they pumped us that day." 

He was right. In Gold Coast's best season, it thumped the Lions by 53 points, Gary Ablett's 38 disposals and three goals a standout. 

Ahead of Saturday's 18th edition of the QClash, Brisbane will be raging-hot favourites, but Rich said over his lengthy career, he's learnt to take no team for granted. 

"We've learnt this season you can't look too far ahead. 

"We've got to focus on our controllables … that doesn't change whoever the opponent is, whether it's a QClash or a final." 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs