Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says blooding three debutants against Port Adelaide in Saturday’s AFL match at Adelaide Oval isn’t ideal.
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch says blooding three new cubs against Port Adelaide isn’t ideal.
But Leppitsch says it’s necessary as the Lions try to cover injury and suspension to key players for Saturday’s AFL clash against Port.
Brisbane will unveil three debutants – Nick Robertson, Jackson Paine and Tom Cutler – at Adelaide Oval.
The trio join fellow first-year players James Aish, Lewis Taylor and Jackson Paine in what Leppitsch admits is a callow Lions side.
“It’s not ideal,” Leppitsch said.
“It would be nice to be able to keep it to four or five if you can, when you get to six or seven you’re starting to look a bit young.
“But sometimes you have to play who is available and who is best available.
“And there’s some kids in our twos that are really playing well, so you have to reward them.”
The winless Lions lost Daniel Rich (knee reconstruction), Josh Green (leg) and Daniel Merrett (suspension) and dropped dropped Ryan Lester and Michael Close.
Port dumped forward John Butcher and were unable to select Chad Wingard (ankle) and Angus Monfries (hamstring), summoning Cam O’Shea, Aaron Young and rookie list elevation Sam Gray as replacements.
Gray will make his AFL debut while Port coach Ken Hinkley cited team balance against a smaller Lions side as the reason for the omission of tall attacker Butcher.
His counterpart Leppitsch said the Power presented a stern challenge for his side, particularly on Adelaide Oval.
“They’re playing on their home deck, for some reason all teams tend to play a little bit better on their home deck,” he said.
“But I’d love to win. You go into every game wanting to win the game.”
To score a breakthrough victory, Leppitsch said the Lions needed to improve their ability to win contested possessions.
“That was a real worry last week, we went down 37 (in contested possessions) and that is a real uncompetitive number,” he said, referring to a 53-point loss to Gold Coast.
“We have only really had the one ordinary game, which was last week – we lacked energy, which led to a lot of things going poorly.
“But we have been rather competitive up until that point.”