Will Genia, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Phipps run a drill during a Wallabies training session at St Josephs College.
Will Genia, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Phipps run a drill during a Wallabies training session at St Josephs College. Mark Kolbe

Wallabies warned by Panoho to be on guard against Lions

Ex-Wallabies prop Glenn Panoho, who literally broke his neck trying to repel the Lions juggernaut, fears Aussie spirits will be broken in the first Test against the marauding tourists.

Sunshine Coast-based Panoho can vividly recall Australia's 29-13 first Test loss to the British and Irish Lions at the Gabba in 2001 - hence his grave concern for Australia.

The former Stingrays coach missed the rest of the 2001 season after sustaining compressed neck fractures in that game, but the Lions' majesty was what he remembered most about the match.

And with the Lions having five warm-up games before the first Test in Brisbane on June 22, compared to Australia's nil, Panoho warned that the home side was already disadvantaged.

He said Australia was "friggin' ambushed" in game one in 2001 - the last time the Lions toured Australia - and the current Wallabies had to try and mentally prepare themselves for the "incredible intensity and speed" of the upcoming clashes.

The Wallabies arrive on the Coast on Sunday for a week-long camp.

"The biggest concern they're going to have is probably the amount of games the Lions will have prior to them facing them," Panoho said.

"I think that's going to be a determining factor, especially if the Lions get their combinations right.

"You've got to appreciate this is a very good Lions side.

"They've got no weaknesses. They've got four nations to pick from.

"If you play Scotland or Ireland, you usually have a few players to target out.

"When they bring the Lions team out, the whole team is complete … it's like picking a team from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

"Can you image that?"

Panoho, who played 21 matches for Australia between 1998 and 2003, said the Australian players should brace themselves for a hostile reception at Suncorp Stadium on June 22.

It was a home match but it would not feel like it, he said, adding that the closest comparison was playing the All Blacks at Auckland's Eden Park.

"Running out (on to the Gabba in 2001), you'd think we were playing an away game overseas. It was just red jerseys everywhere," he said.

"The biggest thing for players playing in this series is to have the mindset of knowing what you're in for.

"The biggest challenge is getting your head around it."