Jack Redden is amongst the Lions stars returning. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Darren England
Brisbane’s 131-point loss to premier Hawthorn in last week’s NAB Challenge game was one of the more embarrassing defeats in pre-season footy. It could be excused, for the most part, by the fact new coach Justin Leppitsch played a very inexperienced team, but it can’t have done much for morale amongst the playing group or supporters. There will be no such excuse this week with some of the club’s senior players returning for Sunday’s clash with Gold Coast in Townsville.
Leppitsch has named nine of his best dozen players for the match at Tony Ireland Stadium. The inclusion of skipper Jed Adcock and ball-winners Tom Rockliff, Daniel Rich, Brent Moloney and Jack Redden should allow the Lions to control the Sherrin much better. Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger gets a solid workout against very promising Suns big men Tom Nicholls and Daniel Gorringe, while a beefed up backline featuring Pearce Hanley, Joel Patfull and Daniel Merrett should go nowhere near conceding the 150-plus points the Lion cubs did against the rampant Hawks.
After a slow start last Monday against the Essendon, Gold Coast slowly but surely clawed its way back in to the match, and a rushed behind in the final second gave the hometown Suns a one-point victory. Highly-rated rookie Jack Martin showed the odd glimpse of brilliance, while forward Sam Day showed he may fulfil some of his potential this season with a standout third quarter after coming on at half-time. Reigning Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett Jnr will be rested from the trip to north Queensland, although Karmichael Hunt will make his first appearance of the pre-season. The Suns lost in the NAB Cup last season in Townsville to North Melbourne.
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