Lions line up for goal-kicking chance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions line up for goal-kicking chance

By Jim Morton 22/07/2009 03:22:29 PM Comments (0)

A host of eager Brisbane players have put up their hands to be Lions' next pinch-hitting wonder to solve the AFL club's full-forward problems.

Assistant coach Justin Leppitsch said plenty of would-be goalkickers are champing at the bit to replace Daniel Bradshaw (hamstring) in the Gabba goalsquare against North Melbourne on Saturday night.

Key defender Joel Patfull has led the charge for a move up the field with back-up Lachlan Henderson unlikely to play due to a foot injury and tall utility Jared Brennan also struggling with an ankle strain.

Leppitsch played down any concerns about punting on a full-forward novice, pointing to the club's 2009 pinch-hitting success following long-term injuries to ruckman Matthew Leuenberger and Jamie Charman, plus mid-season dramas in defence.

The triple-premiership defender, who began his career as a full-forward and always loved moving back up the field, said players were talking themselves up to grab the role.

"We're pretty good at pinch-hitting, this year we've had to be," Leppitsch said.

"We've lost Leuenberger and Charmo and had success with (Mitch) Clark in the ruck.

"One thing you know with a footy club is it's always easy to fill forward roles - Joel Patfull has got his hand up already.

"Everyone loves playing in the forward line, don't worry about that, we've got plenty of guys who want to play full-forward.

"There's never a shortage there."

Bradshaw strained his hamstring in the 15-point win over Fremantle in Perth on Saturday night, which moved the Lions (10-6) back to fifth on the AFL ladder.

Patfull came to the Lions from Norwood as a versatile key position player in late 2005 but Tim Notting looms as the most likely replacement, especially if Brennan is ruled out.

Leppitsch rated Brennan a 50-50 prospect on Wednesday before he said the highly-skilled 24-year-old would take a limited part in the day's closed training session.

"It may not even be until Friday morning whether we know he can play," the assistant coach said.

"He's close enough that we will name him in the squad (on Thursday) and he'll do a Friday morning fitness test."

Fearless tagger Troy Selwood is back on the available list after dislocating shoulder against Hawthorn in round 12 but will return through the reserves.

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