Jonathan Brown fit for clash with Freo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jonathan Brown fit for clash with Freo

By Laine Clark 06/06/2008 07:34:52 PM Comments (0)

Champion forward Jonathan Brown has declared himself a certain starter for the Brisbane Lions' AFL clash against Fremantle at the Gabba on Sunday.

Teenager James Hawksley has been handed an AFL debut but all eyes were on Brown as the Lions co-captain recovered from a knee injury.

Brown (knee) and Josh Drummond (hamstring) were included in the Lions' final 22 named by coach Leigh Matthews.

But Matthews had earlier hinted that a final decision on Brown would not be made until Sunday.

The reigning Coleman Medalist hyperextended his knee in their 31-point win over North Melbourne last weekend.

After training strongly, the Victorian skipper gave himself the green light for the Dockers' clash.

"It has pulled up quite well, no ill effects. I'm looking forward to getting out on Sunday," Brown told Channel Nine.

"Our running defender stocks have been hit hard but it looks like Josh Drummond will come up - he trained pretty well today.

"Unfortunately we lose Jason Roe and Ash McGrath (to hamstring injuries) but Drummo will be there to carry the ball down the field for us."

Matthews today was cautiously optimistic of Brown's availability.

"It's always difficult when you pick a team three days before you play which we have had to do," he said.

"It's all been positive (with Brown). He's got to make sure he can run around okay - he will only play if he is right."

But Matthews dismissed any concerns over Brownlow Medalist Simon Black who had light training duties this week with a groin injury.

Matthews clearly looked forward to second year midfielder Hawksley kick-starting his career after 2007 was sabotaged by a finger injury.

The young West Australian was chosen by the Lions with pick No.38 in the 2006 National Draft.

"We were quite impressed from what we saw of him in pre-season games last year but he got a bad injury that wrecked his year," Matthews said.

"He has only started playing again in the last five weeks or so.

"He's been a good defender at reserve level."

In other changes, two-time premiership player Robert Copeland returns to fill the vacancy in defence.

James Polkinghorne, Cheynee Stiller and Matthew Leuenberger were named as emergencies.

Matthews will become only the eighth person in the game's history to reach the 450 game mark on Sunday.

Brisbane have strung together three straight wins to move to seventh but the Dockers are battling with just one victory in 10 games following a woeful run of fadeouts.

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