Brown bullish over Big V fitness - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brown bullish over Big V fitness

By Roger Vaughan 08/05/2008 06:31:02 AM Comments (0)

Victorian captain Jonathan Brown rates himself a "75-80 per cent" chance to play in Saturday night's AFL Hall of Fame match.

While Brown is also 100 per cent certain his Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews does not want him to play, the key forward arrived in Melbourne brimming with enthusiasm about the one-off match against the composite Dream Team.

Big V coach Mark Thompson said he sympathised with Matthews' concerns, but said he had a "responsibility" to let players such as Brown take part in the match.

"The physio from Brisbane seems to think I'm going quite well, so I'm happy to be down here - even if I suppose the coach (Matthews) is probably not," Brown said.

"I'm probably 75-80 per cent at the moment, obviously I have to complete training tomorrow.

"But I would have thought if I can get through that, I will be right to go."

Brown did not play against Geelong last Saturday because of a tight quad muscle and Matthews has made his misgivings clear about Brown taking part in this match.

Thompson used the example of his Cats forward Steve Johnson - who has nagged him for about a month over Victorian selection - as he spoke about the enthusiasm among the players for the match.

"From a club point of view, that's probably how a lot of coaches feel," Thompson said of Matthews.

"The thing that I've been thinking about is that ... none of our boys at Geelong have played for Victoria and that's an incentive here, that's the thing that's excited (them) the most.

"From a club point of view, yeah, I can understand it, we don't want to risk players, it's really important we win four points.

"But ultimately these guys want to play and we have a responsibility to let these guys play for Victoria and put on a great game."

Brown's form has not been strong of late, but Thompson has no doubt he will lift for Saturday's match.

"He didn't play last week and he wasn't great the week before, but you sort of just deep down know that if he puts the jumper on and he's captain of Victoria, he'll probably have a reasonable game of footy," Thompson said.

While Brown is bullish about playing, Thompson said the situation remained unclear regarding Gary Ablett.

The Geelong midfielder missed the game against Brisbane with a calf muscle injury and was apparently undergoing scans late on Wednesday afternoon.

"If Gary's fit, he'll play and if he's not he'll unfortunately have to miss," Thompson said.

"I can tell you right now, he's pretty keen to play, he wants to play and he has all along.

"The only reason he won't be playing is because he is injured."

The Dream Team trained for the first time on Wednesday at the MCG, with Brownlow Medal fancy Adam Cooney (ankle) moving freely.

But Sydney defender Tadhg Kennelly and Fremantle tall utility Luke McPharlin sat out the light run because of soreness.

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