Perhaps the most significant figure from the Brisbane Lions’ 30-point AFL away loss to GWS on Sunday was the one that didn’t show up on the stat sheets: no new injuries.
The injury list after last week’s loss to St Kilda comprised 19 names, with only Pearce Hanley from that group playing on Sunday.
It was probably easier to publish a list of who was fit, with the Lions reserves on Sunday fielding just six listed players and 16 top ups in their 192-point loss to UWS Giants.
Despite the crippling injury toll, the senior Lions side battled right to the end against the high-riding Giants at Spotless Stadium.
They trailed by 46 in the fourth quarter but summoned the effort to kick the last three goals.
“To the guys’ credit, we never gave in and stayed really strong as a unit, which is what we wanted to do,” Lions midfielder Dayne Zorko told AAP.
“To hang in and only make it five goals, I’m really proud of the boys.”
Coach Justin Leppitsch also drew some encouragement from the effort of his youthful and vastly understrength side, though lamenting some missed set shots and some Giants goals from stoppages.
“We go into our bye a little bit battered and bruised as a list goes, but we go in with pretty good confidence,” Leppitsch said.
“I think the last month our effort has improved out of sight.”
The 2-8 Lions now have almost two weeks to recover before resuming their campaign against Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
“I think it (the bye) has come at a really good time with the injury list being so high,” Zorko said,
“Hopefully the second half of the season we get a lot of those experienced guys back out on the park.”