Black in major doubt for Lions opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Black in major doubt for Lions opener

By Jim Morton 19/03/2009 07:26:06 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane star midfielder Simon Black appears likely to miss the Lions AFL season opener against West Coast after being struck down by gastroenteritis.

Black is one of 18 players at the club recovering from the bug after being struck down over the weekend.

The news is a blow to the Lions vice-captain's hopes of playing in Saturday week's season opener at the Gabba as he was already recovering from a broken hand.

It means Black has a severe lack of match practice going into round one and assistant coach Justin Leppitsch was pessimistic about his chances of playing the Eagles.

"I would have thought he was highly unlikely to play," Leppitsch said on Wednesday.

"He hasn't had any match minutes, it's been done before not having match minutes and playing round one, and if anyone could do that it's Simon Black but that's going to be heavily discussed on Monday."

Black, who also underwent off-season ankle surgery, suffered his fracture last month but was originally rated a good chance to play in the season-opener.

The Lions are keen to bring their key on-baller back in the seniors rather than the reserves but much will depend on how they match up against the Eagles midfield.

"I wouldn't have thought he would play reserves, I would have thought he'd play senior football for reduced minutes," Leppitsch.

"It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle with Simon, we'll look at those pieces on Monday."

As well as Black, Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown, Luke Power, Jamie Charman, Joel Patfull and Mitch Clark are among those recovering from the bug which has swept through the club.

Coach Michael Voss has quarantined his sick players - meaning close to half the squad sat out team training at Coorparoo on Wednesday.

"It's definitely a distraction but you would rather it this week then next," said Leppitsch.

"I don't think it's ever handy but if there was any week it could have come this is not a bad one."

The Lions have been successful in gaining a clearance from the AFL for ruckman Charman and full-back Daniel Merrett to play for Aspley in the local AFLQ competition on Saturday.

Neither Charman (knee) nor Merrett (quad) have played in the pre-season but are expected to line up against the Eagles if they get through the weekend's match against Morningside.

First-round draft pick Daniel Rich, named as the favourite to win this year's Rising Star Award by the 16 club captains on Wednesday, is set to make his AFL debut against West Coast.

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