Johnstone gets another chance at Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnstone gets another chance at Lions

By Laine Clark 02/07/2009 06:55:21 PM Comments (0)

Another chance has been thrown to mercurial Brisbane Lions midfielder Travis Johnstone.

After Lions coach Michael Voss challenged the veteran to win back his spot in the side, Johnstone responded to force Jason Roe out of the line-up for Saturday's away clash with Port Adelaide.

It was the only change to the team which thrashed Melbourne by 55 points at the Gabba last weekend.

Brisbane are taking no risks with recovering key defender Josh Drummond, who has missed almost a month with a calf strain and has been given another week off to ensure he is 100 per cent.

Voss made it clear where Johnstone stood after the former No.1 draft pick was overlooked for last round's clash against his former club Melbourne.

"It's largely the choice of Travis," Voss said.

"It's how he plays, how he competes and what his attitude's like.

"If that's good, then we're a better team with Travis Johnstone in the side."

Johnstone has clearly heeded Voss' advice, overcoming a back complaint and emerging from a weekend in the reserves to be given the nod for a crunch clash against the Power.

"We are looking at getting a bit more run in our team," Lions assistant Justin Leppitsch said in Brisbane on Thursday regarding.

The Lions (8-5 record) believe they only need four more wins from their final nine games to make the finals for the first time since 2004.

Which made resting Drummond for another week all the more important, according to Leppitsch.

"He's a very important part of our team and coming into the back half of the season you have to be very careful with injuries," he said.

"Particularly those soft tissue injuries. Another four weeks on the sidelines really puts back the chance of potential September action.

"We are very mindful with him. He has a history of ongoing injuries so we have to manage him very carefully."

Leppitsch said the Lions would also be mindful of Port's on-field response to coach Mark Williams being offered a two-year contract extension.

"Generally when the coach leaves teams come out all fired up but for West Coast the coach re-signed and they came out all fired up (against Hawthorn last weekend)," Leppitsch said.

"So generally it does have a response. It gives the place a sense of stability and you move on.

"We can't worry about it, but we are mindful of it."

However, Leppitsch said the Lions were keen to build on their impressive record against Port at Adelaide.

They have won five of their past seven matches at AAMI Stadium.

"It is an opportunity for us, but you can't take any team lightly," he said.

"We've had a good record the last few times away. It is a record we are keen to build on.

"The away wins mean more to us in this particular season. We really go interstate with a real focus."

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