Lions' selection decisions under wraps - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions' selection decisions under wraps

By Sam Lienert 03/09/2009 06:23:19 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane will keep Carlton guessing as long as possible ahead of Saturday night's AFL elimination final, naming injured playmakers Simon Black and Josh Drummond.

Lions coach Michael Voss has doubts over Brownlow medallist Black (hamstring) or long-kicking backman Drummond (quad) making the sudden death Gabba clash after both were hurt against Sydney last round.

They are among four Lions named despite injury concerns, with full-back Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and full-forward Daniel Bradshaw (quad) added to the side after missing the Swans game.

Voss was optimistic about bookends Merrett and Bradshaw playing, with both making it through a closed training session at the Gabba ahead of the teams being named on Thursday.

But Black and Drummond were given the afternoon off, with the first-year coach and former Lions triple-premiership captain saying the club would make a late call on their fitness.

"We'd like to think Daniel (Merrett) is a bit more certain out of the lot," Voss said before the training session.

"He's the one that's been able to get to top pace the last couple of days with his running, which is pleasing.

"... You'd think he'd be okay if he can get through the training and likewise Braddy.

"We won't really find out anything else from the other guys (Black and Drummond) until probably more likely tomorrow."

Voss confirmed after the session Merrett and Bradshaw had made it through.

Earlier in the week, Carlton coach Brett Ratten accused Voss of playing "cat and mouse" by overstating the club's injury concerns, a claim the Lions coach shrugged off.

"I wish I was playing mind games, it would certainly make match committee much shorter," he said.

But while the untimely injury spate has given him plenty to think about, Voss was confident it would not distract or dishearten his players.

"One of the things the group have prided themselves on is having the level of effort they can produce every time they go out there, no matter who it is," he said.

"No matter who plays for the Brisbane Lions, whoever's in that jumper, I know that they'll give that effort."

But the likely return of Merrett will be crucial, given Blues spearhead Brendan Fevola booted eight goals at the Gabba in round 11 to help Carlton to a six-point win when the key defender was out injured.

Voss said just as significant in breaking Brisbane's three-match losing streak to the Blues was stopping the domination Carlton's midfield guns, such as Chris Judd, Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs, have had in recent meetings.

"That's been the critical thing ... that's a genuine strength they have," he said.

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