Injuries keep Lions in the hunt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injuries keep Lions in the hunt

10/07/2009 06:38:17 PM Comments (0)

The Brisbane Lions have received an enormous boost in their hopes of overcoming Geelong on Saturday and staying in the hunt for the AFL top four after injuries decimated the Cats line-up.

Superstar Gary Ablett is the latest Cat to drop out of the match at the Gabba, succumbing to a calf complaint to take to six the number of Geelong players missing from their bruising loss to St Kilda last weekend.

When the dust settled following last round's blockbuster, forward Travis Varcoe (shoulder), fullback Matthew Scarlett (back), fellow defender Darren Milburn (ankle), tagger Cameron Ling (knee) and midfielder James Kelly (hamstring) also failed to back up.

And danger forward Steve Johnson (hip) will sit out another game out after missing the Saints showdown.

In contrast, the Lions welcome back key defender Josh Drummond from a three-week calf complaint and have injected premiership player Tim Notting, Tom Collier, Matt Austin and teenage debutant Jack Redden into their team following last round's 48-point away loss to Port Adelaide.

Despite the Cats' injury woes, Lions coach Michael Voss refused to get too carried away.

"We can't afford to look at who's not there (for Geelong). We've got to look at who is there," he said.

"They've still got a bunch of all-Australians. Regardless of who's there, there's a lot we have to get done."

The Lions are still smarting from their round five, 93-point thrashing to Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

But Voss has refused to look at footage of the shellacking in his preparations for the return bout at the Gabba on Saturday night.

"I have confined that one (round five footage) to history and got the DVD and snapped it in half," Voss laughed on Friday.

"We're not after Nightmare on Elm Street II. I don't like sequels, so from that end we've got to make sure we bring our competitive attitude.

"We learnt a lot of lessons from that game and the way the guys have conducted themselves since.

"It's a good way to be able to see how far we've come in that period of time."

The sixth-placed Lions (8-6 record) have impressed with their comeback since the embarrassing performance at Geelong, but appeared to lose their way again last weekend, when they were overrun by Port in the final term.

But Voss said his side was determined to get back on track against Geelong as they vied for their first finals campaign since 2004.

They are also just one win behind fourth-placed Collingwood.

"The back half of the year is about mental toughness. You build your skills and confidence in the first half," Voss said.

"We've done that, shown we can play at the necessary level to compete with the very best.

"Now it is about us replicating that and doing it across the whole season.

"We are in the run home. Sometimes getting a defeat like last week can check yourself, help you realise what is important."

Geelong have won their past six matches against the Lions by an average of 51 points.

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