Ruck form one of few joys for Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ruck form one of few joys for Lions

Rob Forsaith 03/09/2011 09:55:19 PM Comments (0)

Much like Brisbane's AFL season of struggle, ruckman Matthew Leuenberger provided one of few highlights for the Lions in their 52-point loss to Sydney at the SCG on Saturday.

Expectations have always been great since the Lions drafted Leuenberger with pick No.4 in the 2006 draft, but a series of injuries blighted his formative years in the league.

He's finally found fitness, playing all 22 games this season, and is well on the way to being one of the AFL's most influential ruckmen.

Leuenberger has been his side's best this year, and showed it once again on Saturday when he scored a personal victory in his battle with in-form Swans counterpart Shane Mumford.

Leuenberger finished the game with 44 hitouts, 14 disposals and five clearances, outgunning Mumford (24 hitouts) - who last week had played a telling role in the Swans' upset win over Geelong.

Voss said after the loss, which meant his side finished 15th on the ladder with four wins for the season, that Leuenberger was one to step up against the Swans.

"Leuenberger is certainly one of them. His last five or six weeks have been outstanding," Voss said.

"What he's got is ... his athleticism, but he's now starting to have that game running, the smarts - where to get across the ground ... he's getting that real strength you need as a ruckman.

"Also his positioning. If you play in front of him, he'll jump over you. If you start from behind him - he's now getting the ability to hold his body in the contest and not get thrown around."

Voss, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, vowed his side would improve in 2012.

"That's what gives you a lot of excitement in your blood is that you can see over the second half of this year, we've seen genuine improvement," he said.

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