Lions, AFL sweating over Brown's fitness - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions, AFL sweating over Brown's fitness

By Roger Vaughan and Laine Clark 02/05/2008 04:19:21 PM Comments (0)

Jonathan Brown's fitness has massive ramifications for Brisbane and the AFL over the coming week.

Lions coach Leigh Matthews said that if any his players miss Saturday's big match against Geelong at Skilled Stadium, they will not be available for the May 10 Hall of Fame tribute match.

While Matthews did not refer specifically to Brown, the key forward is the major fitness worry for the Lions heading into the Geelong game.

The Lions need Brown to produce a big match against the defending premiers, who are unbeaten.

On top of that, Brown is the Victorian captain for the Hall of Fame match and has featured heavily in pre-game marketing.

Publicly and privately, Brown is a strong supporter of the concept.

It would be a public relations disaster for the league if Brown had to withdraw from the one-off game.

Before flying to Melbourne this morning, Matthews was asked if he would stop Lions from playing in the Hall Of Fame match if they had fitness issues.

"I think it is a given, if you don't play this weekend you don't play the Hall of Fame game, I don't think all of a sudden you are going to be able to play in that kind of game unless you play this week," Matthews said.

Brisbane has seven players in the two squads - Brown, Daniel Bradshaw, Nigel Lappin and Luke Power for Victoria and Simon Black, Jamie Charman and Matthew Leuenberger for the Dream Team.

Lappin will miss Saturday's match with an Achilles tendon problem, which has sidelined him for the last two games, and he will not make this weekend's cut of the Victorian squad from 40 to 30.

Matthews admitted fitness was an issue for Brown ahead of the Geelong match after he failed to complete training.

"He's had a few things that are troubling him. He didn't train too much tonight. He left fairly early," Matthews said.

"He hasn't been dominating the game but has physical issues that he has to deal with and that's a frustration for him for sure."

Brisbane brought their three emergencies to Melbourne and Matthews said there were "a number" of players on Thursday who left the track early.

"Some didn't train because we wanted to give them light duties and some of them didn't train because they had trouble training, there are some issues that need to be confronted and decided before tomorrow," Matthews said.

While the Lions brought in four players, the Cats named an unchanged side.

Cats captain Tom Harley has passed a fitness test on his corked buttock.

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