Depleted Lions host Essendon in Gabba


Star defender Harris Andrews is the latest Brisbane Lions player to be excluded from Sunday’s clash against Essendon.

Defender Carter Michael will make his AFL debut as the Brisbane Lions continue to be decimated ahead of their clash with Essendon.

Backline star Harris Andrews on Friday became the eighth Brisbane player to be banned from Sunday’s fight at the Gabba.

Andrews was the fourth Leo to test positive for Covid-19 this week, joining Keidean Coleman, Callum Ah Chee and Dan McStay as those who have fallen victim to the virus.

Adding injured quartet Dayne Zorko (hamstring), Daniel Rich (hamstring), Jarrod Berry (hamstring) and Jaxon Prior (quad) to the casualties certainly puts the Lions’ depth to the test this weekend.

However, veteran defender Ryan Lester – who has been lifted from Brisbane’s VFL squad in the wake of illness and injuries passed through the club – said the players brought to Brisbane’s top deserved their chance.

“There are quite a few of us who haven’t had too many (AFL) chances this year so it’s always exciting when you get the chance,” said Lester, who has only made 32 appearances at the top level in the last two years. one this season.

“We’re doing pretty well in the VFL, so hopefully we can come in and play really well for the team, and hopefully we can win.

“Obviously you want to be on the team going to the final, and there’s nothing saying ‘Fages’ (coach Chris Fagan) has to bring the eight guys out this week back next week.

“Certainly because of this opportunity there will probably be one or two guys who will stay in the team for the final, so that’s really exciting.”

Aside from Lester and Michael, a Maroochydore product who joined the club through the Lions Academy in 2020, Mitch Robinson, Nakia Cockatoo, Darcy Fort, Tom Fullarton and Harry Sharp have been called into the top 22 this weekend.

If necessary, the medi-sub – who was Prior last week – comes out of emergencies Deven Robertson, Tom Berry, Rhys Mathieson and James Madden.

With regular skipper Zorko and his deputy Andrews out, three players – Lester, Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage – will battle it out for captain of the team on Sunday.

“Whoever it is, it’s a great honor to be captain of an AFL team,” said Lester.

“I don’t expect it to be me, but if it is it would be great. If it isn’t, with a few leaders out there will be a few of us who have to go through crucial moments of the game. get up, and hopefully I will be able to do that.”

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