Eagles ruck woes welcome news for Lions

You’ll forgive Justin Leppitsch from getting giddy about the news West Coast’s ruck division comes to Queensland severely undermanned.

The under-fire Brisbane coach hasn’t had too much good news in recent weeks as the Lions have bounced from defeat after defeat in the AFL.

Last week’s hiding by fellow strugglers Fremantle was arguably Leppitsch’s lowest point as coach, resulting in an angry dismissal of questions over his future in the post-match press conference.

But it was with a slight smirk that Leppitsch took questions on Friday about the Eagles’ ruck woes.

Coach Adam Simpson confirmed on Thursday the team would travel to Brisbane without big man Scott Lycett, after he was dropped for disciplinary reasons.

With No.1 ruckman Nic Naitanui also out after undergoing ankle surgery, it means the Lions have an edge over their opponents.

“That’s a positive for our midfield, it doesn’t mean anything apart from that though, unfortunately,” Leppitsch said.

“We’re a better chance of winning hitouts now, that’s probably the main thing.”

The Lions have made five changes for the visit of the Eagles, with Trent West, Nick Robertson and Dan McStay all dropped and Tom Bell (knee) and Harris Andrews (groin) injured.

Ryan Lester, Josh Walker, Claye Beams and Marco Paparone have been recalled, while Eric Hipwood will make his debut.

The Eagles won the round one clash between the teams in Perth with Josh Kennedy booting eight goals.

Leppitsch says hanging tough and staying in the game when the Eagles are on top is his team’s main challenge.

“You don’t go into a boxing fight not expecting to get a punch in the face do you?,” he said.

“They will get the game on their terms and how we respond to that will be the most important thing of this week … sometimes you just have to hold the fort for 10 minutes.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!