Jonathon Ceglar of the Hawks and Archie Smith of the Lions compete for the ball during the 2019 JLT Community Series AFL match at Moreton Bay Sports Complex. Pic: Getty Images
Jonathon Ceglar of the Hawks and Archie Smith of the Lions compete for the ball during the 2019 JLT Community Series AFL match at Moreton Bay Sports Complex. Pic: Getty Images

Lions captain to miss final pre-season clash

Dayne Zorko will miss Saturday's JLT Series match with Melbourne at Casey Fields with a knee injury.

The Lions skipper pulled up sore from the opening round victory over Hawthorn at Burpengary and it has not improved enough throughout the week.

He was running laps at training last night and Brisbane expect he will be ready for the round one clash with West Coast at the Gabba on March 23.

The other intrigue is the presence of veteran ruckman Stefan Martin on the six-man bench.

Archie Smith is listed to ruck against Melbourne's All Australian Max Gawn with back-up Oscar McInerney playing as a deep forward.

Martin played a NEAFL practice match last weekend but the Lions have opted for another look at Archie Smith who has been impressing all summer.

Brisbane's NEAFL side will fly to Melbourne with the senior side to play a curtain raiser against Melbourne's VFL side Casey and it will be interesting if one of the big men drop back to play that match.

Veteran Allen Christensen and midfielder Ben Keays come into the side while Ely Smith, Brandon Starcevich and Connor Ballenden have dropped out.

Lions football manager David Noble said there was no cause for concern with Zorko and it was merely a decision not to take any risks with a senior player.

"He got a whack last week, he hyper-extended it but he came back on,'' he said.

"He'll be right for round one, it gives us a chance to look at other midfielder combinations.

Noble said Smith's form had earned him his spot and added that the limited senior games Smith had played he had been used as a second ruckman and forward and the club were keen to give him more opportunities as the number one.

"I think Archie has just done really well, the benefit we have got is we can still play 26,'' he said.

"We know what Stef can do for us and the capacity is there for Archie to get another opportunity to play as the number one ruckman against an AFL opposition.''

Pearce Hanley will make his first appearance for the Suns this pre-season against Sydney at Lismore on Sunday.

The Irishman missed the practice match against Brisbane and the first JLT Series win over the Western Bulldogs with a minor niggle.

He joins newcomer Jack Hombsch as the inclusions to the side to replace Sean Lemmens who faces an eight week lay-off with an ankle injury and ex-Cat George Horlin-Smith who also has a minor ankle strain.

News Corp Australia


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