Black passes brutal 'Lappin test' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Black passes brutal 'Lappin test'

By Jim Morton 18/07/2008 05:21:06 PM Comments (0)

Spearhead Jonathan Brown has been cleared to play West Coast and Simon Black is set to join him after passing a famed Brisbane fitness test.

In a massive boost to the wavering Lions, coach Leigh Matthews declared co-captains Brown and Black both fit to line up against a green Eagles outfit at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Brown stretched out confidently at training to dispel concerns about his hip but Black was put through a torrid "Nigel Lappin" test at the end of the session.

Assistant coach Chris Johnson lined up and pummelled Black for up to 10 minutes to test his injured shoulder much in the same way Lappin was belted by Aaron Shattock before the 2003 grand final win against Collingwood.

Carrying broken ribs, Lappin came through a series of vigorous tackles by Shattock to take his place in the 2003 decider at the MCG.

Black spoke with Matthews and club medics for several minutes after the test in a sign he was touch and go but Matthews was confident the three-time club champion would play.

"We always thought Jonathan would play and he trained today and he's okay," the Lions coach said.

"We didn't think Blacky would play to be honest but he seemed to be okay during the session, so he'll probably start off the field because we planned the game without him and we won't alter that but it's good to have him in our 22."

Pressed whether Black was able to bounce back after copping a nasty knock in the 37-point loss to Essendon at Telstra Dome, Matthews played down concerns.

"He's been given the all clear unless he pulls up badly," he said.

The Lions have wilted with upset away defeats to Melbourne and the Bombers and Matthews acknowledged their confidence had dipped.

West Coast hold a recent stranglehold over Brisbane, having won their last four meetings at the Gabba by an average nine goals.

But the Eagles are a far different side from that which won the 2006 premiership, especially without Chris Judd and Ben Cousins, and now with Daniel Kerr suspended.

"We'll struggle to field a much younger (team) in terms of games played and age and that makes it tough," said coach John Worsfold.

Worsfold didn't hide his disappointment at Kerr's indiscipline at Friday's press conference as the club was considering whether to slug him with a further suspension after his current three-week ban ends.

Black's reminder of Lappin's courage five years ago came just before Matthews revealed the 32-year-old veteran underwent last-resort foot surgery this week.

Lappin hasn't played since round four due to Achilles tendonitis, which the Lions medicos believe may be due to a trapped nerve.

Matthews said doctors "untrapped the nerve" in the minor operation and the club is hopeful he can add to his total of 279 senior games by the end of the season.

"Basically it's fairly superficial surgery and as soon as the incision is healed in a week he should be right to run," he said.

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