What the ruck? Lions face big man crisis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

What the ruck? Lions face big man crisis

By Laine Clark 25/04/2009 10:43:09 AM Comments (0)

A ruck crisis has hit the Brisbane Lions - and it is worse than first thought.

Losing Jamie Charman and Matthew Leuenberger to lengthy injuries was bad enough.

But Charman has revealed that it is just "the tip of the iceberg".

Charman tried to give Lions coach Michael Voss some reason to smile ahead of their daunting trip to Geelong on Sunday, saying he was targeting a round eight comeback from an ankle injury against Adelaide - two weeks earlier than first expected.

But the big man also revealed the full extent of the damage to their ruck depth.

He said the youngsters Voss had initially considered blooding against Geelong - draftee Bart McCulloch and rookie Daniel Murray - were either battling injury or only just nearing match fitness.

And another option Joel Tippett was also out of the equation.

"So far 2009 hasn't been too kind to the Brisbane Lions ruckmen," Charman told the Lions website.

"With four out of five ruckmen now on the injury list, we should probably have our own casualty ward down at the club right now.

"Tassie draftee Bart McCulloch is almost 200cm tall and is only a couple of weeks away from getting back on the field after getting over a quad injury while rookie ruckman Joel Tippett is back in training after a back problem.

"Daniel Murray has just come back from a groin injury over the pre-season and looked pretty lively in his first hit-out for the club in the reserves last weekend."

Charman said he had finally calmed down after going down with injury just as he was primed to fill the big shoes left by Leuenberger (knee, up to 12 weeks out).

"It could've been much worse I guess with initial fears that it (ankle) was broken but the news was still just the tip of the iceberg for me," he said.

"With Matthew Leuenberger out for 12 weeks with his knee injury, I was really determined to get back into the team and help shoulder most of the ruck load.

"By half-time I was on crutches with my ankle wrapped in ice.

"I probably haven't been the greatest company since. In fact, my friends and family are beginning to wonder whether I have taken one too many angry pills as part of my recovery.

"But I have calmed down a fair bit in the last couple of days and am now pencilling in my return for maybe round eight against the Crows or round nine against the Saints."

Voss has opted for part-timer Mitch Clark to step up in the ruck against the Cats with 19-year-old regular forward Lachlan Henderson as his back up.

"I think we're about to test the philosophy whether ruckmen are valuable within our game because we don't have too many of them left and I think we'll have to experience that by default," Voss said this week.

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