LIONS READY TO POUNCE ON SLIPPERY CATS
By Mark Heenan BRISBANE LIONS coach Leigh Matthews says his players are primed to cause an upset over AFL pre-season premiers Geelong tomorrow at Skilled Stadium. The Cats have will fill their side with underdone players and will be missing experienced players such as Kent Kingsley and Peter Riccardi.
Showers are predicted for the Skilled Stadium clash with Geelongs midfield running duo of James Kelly (shoulder), and Steve Johnson (hamstring) also likely to miss, Matthews admitting the wet weather could play into their hands. Johnson has been named as an emergency for the Cats.
Ruckman Steven King and forward Brad Ottens will finally return to bolster the home sides tall stocks. I think Geelong are more wounded in terms of players not ready to play at their peak that are probably in their best, than we are, Matthews said.
(Steve) Johnson is probably not going to play and (James) Kelly is out. They can be better in that area than theyre probably are, with the side they are putting on the field on tomorrow in a way.
Brisbane will rely heavily on its smaller brigade of players in the slippery conditions, while Jamie Charman is expected to do the bulk of the ruck duties with veteran Clark Keating named as an emergency.
Out-of-favour Lion Anthony Corrie was included in a squad of 23, while ex-Swan Ben Fixter and youngsters Mitchell Clark and Scott Harding are expected to fill the void of injured pair Nigel Lappin (ankle) and Richard Hadley (knee reconstruction).
Matthews put an end to speculation that barnstorming forward Jonathon Brown wont play a full match after a restricted pre-season in where he failed to play an NAB Cup match. However, Brown apparently has impressed the Lions hierarchy in his last two practice matches.
The 24-year-old, who played only 12 AFL games in 2005 and was dogged by a crippling osteitis pubis injury and suspension, joined his teammates during a training session at Skilled Stadium on Friday.
He (Brown) is ready, hes had his two and half games and hes had a good summer, so whatever Jonathon is capable of we should be able to get this weekend, Matthews said.
Matthews also is unsure on how much impact the double-act of Brad Ottens and Steven King will have on the match. I dont really know (what to expect out of Ottens and King), theyre selected I guess they will be out there, he said. It would appear they havent had a lot of match practice pre-season, and you know that theyre coming off injuries.
Brisbane holds an impressive recent record against Geelong winning 12 of their past 13 encounters, however they have not beaten the Cats at Geelong since 2003. Ipod