COACH Justin Leppitsch says that we will see the return of Pearce Hanley along with some fresh faces in the side, ahead of the clash against GWS Giants in Sydney, on Sunday.
Hanley will return after a long recovery from pre-season hip surgery, and Leppitsch is confident that he will bring some much-needed support to the team.
“Our expectation is that he’ll play four quarters, but if he get’s tired and is starting to struggle we’ll sub him out of course. He’s doing really well though, he’s doing over 12-13km sessions a week now, so our expectation is that the footy game is going to be similar to that,” he said.
Leppitsch said that the tally of injuries in the past has given a few younger players a chance and that, “there’ll be a couple of fresh faces in the group this week given the injuries we’ve got.”
This news comes only a day after Claye Beams underwent surgery to mend medial ligament damage in his knee after injuring it against St Kilda on Sunday.
Despite the building number of injuries, Leppitsch is proud of his team commending his young players, including Justin Clarke who has stepped up and performed extraordinarily.
“Clarkie has been fantastic, he hasn’t even played 50 games yet, and he’s been asked to be our general, that’s a big ask, it really is.
“He’s been asked to play a mature man’s game, direct others, and he’s doing such a good job.
“I’m really proud of those tall defenders under the adversity that we’ve had, to try and keep the group together, under difficulty,” he said.
With the Lions expected to make up to six changes, they will be looking to their up and coming players to shoulder the load, while also evaluating the Club’s senior list.
“Those things are ever-evolving, but one thing it will do is give us the plenty of opportunity in senior level to look at guys and who can make it and who can survive.
“I think we have a really good indication of our group now who plays well at senior level and where they play”, he said.
“It’s unfortunate for our fans that we don’t get our best team out there every week, but we have some terrific opportunity for our kids, and for our fans to see the kids.”
Press Conference 4 June 2015