Brown will soldier on: Lions' Matthews - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brown will soldier on: Lions' Matthews

By Drew Cratchley and Sam Lienert 11/08/2008 03:10:05 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews says injury niggles are making it difficult for star forward Jonathan Brown to produce anywhere near his best football.

The Lions co-captain had minimal impact during Saturday's big loss to Hawthorn in Launceston, in which he managed just six disposals, four marks and one goal.

He appeared to be lacking mobility and his frustration was evident when he gave away two 50-metre penalties during the opening term.

But while Matthews did not specify exactly what was hampering Brown, he said a range of minor fitness problems were making it a challenge for him just to take the field.

"He's got enormous courage, Browny, to get out there, but he's got a lot of things that he's coping with," Matthews said on Monday.

"Anyone who goes to training knows he just can't get out there Wednesdays, so he's barely getting out there from week to week.

"It's very difficult when you do that because you de-train a little bit, just playing weekends and getting up for the following weekend. It makes it very tough to play anywhere near the level you are capable of."

But with the ninth-placed Lions' 2008 campaign having reached desperation point, with Saturday's 69-point hammering their fifth loss in six games, there are no plans to give the big forward a rest.

"He'll play all the games, by the look of it," Matthews said.

"Everyone has their strengths and their vulnerabilities."

Matthews said despite the team's disappointing recent run, he believed they were the equal of any side outside the top three and were still in with a genuine finals chance.

"I sort of feel like from fourth to 12th you can't say that fourth is (a) better (team) than 12th," Matthews said.

"But someone will finish fourth and fifth and sixth because they've won more games than the team that finishes 12th. And it's probably going to be a handful of games.

"I believe we have the capabilities to play finals, and we have to win the last three to do that, and that's a big percentage ask."

While the Lions were thrashed by the Hawks, Matthews said they had held their own against the other sides battling for spots in the bottom of the eight, such as against fifth-placed North Melbourne the previous round.

"The Kangaroos have won their last five, and we had every chance of beating Kangaroos if we played a better last few minutes," he said.

"It's a matter of which game you take. So on that basis I think we've got the same capabilities as the teams that are in and around the top eight."

The Lions play the Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Sydney in their remaining three games.

Meanwhile, Matthews refused to comment on Brown's protracted contract negotiations.

The player and club are believed to be at odds over the star's wish to have his next contract stretch for five years.

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