Skeleton crews: Depleted Suns, Lions to face off
BRISBANE Lions and Gold Coast Suns will both be without three senior players for Saturday's scratch-match at Metricon Stadium because of the AFLX tournament after Sun Lachie Weller received a late call up.
However the Suns will be closer to their round one side than Brisbane who still have some key players sidelined through injury.
The Lions will be without skipper Dayne Zorko and veterans Luke Hodge and Daniel Rich while Weller, who will play for Jack Riewoldt's AFLX team Rampage, joins Jarrod Harbrow and Jack Martin as absentees for the Suns due to AFLX commitments.
Both clubs intend to pick every available player for the match which will be played over six twenty minute terms.
While the AFLX players are the only notable absences from the Suns side, Brisbane will be without five members of their leadership group with newly elevated members Darcy Gardiner and Jarrod Berry as well veteran Allen Christensen and ruckman Stefan Martin all sidelined.
Berry (glandular fever) and Martin (heel) are expected to be available for the first or second JLT match but Gardiner (knee) and Christensen (ankle) are unlikely to play in the pre-season.
New recruit Marcus Adams is still battling knee soreness and may also not be available for either JLT games.
Despite the absence of defenders Gardiner and Adams, stand-in skipper Harris Andrews hinted he would still spend time in the forward line when he spoke of his excitement of playing alongside Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood.
"Eric's done a really good job the last couple of years playing forward and being the main target down there,'' he said.
"Hopefully I can make the job a little bit easier for him and he can get up the ground and use his assets, agility and speed.
"I'm really excited at the proposition of working alongside Eric and Charlie (Cameron)."
The Suns lost Harrison Wigg for 12 months to a knee injury last week while Josh Schoenfeld will miss six weeks with an ankle injury.
New recruit Corey Ellis had groin surgery pre-Christmas and is not expected to be available for the opening two weeks of the home and away season while VFL recruit Josh Corbett had a minor knee clean-up two weeks ago and is still hopeful of playing at some level by round one.
Defender Jack Leslie is close to returning to full training from the knee injury he suffered in the final match last season while pressure forward Nick Holman resumed full training this week after a modified program over summer to rectify a back complaint.
None are guaranteed selections in the club's best 22.