Rockliff, Sidebottom out for weeks

Brisbane and Collingwood are both counting the cost of their Saturday night thriller with Tom Rockliff and Steele Sidebottom both facing spells on the sidelines due to injury.

The Magpies registered a 12-point win at the Gabba but it was soured when Sidebottom – arguably the best player on the field – took a kick to his hand early in the final term, breaking his thumb.

Sidebottom (20 possessions, five clearances) may need pins inserted to fix the break and is anticipated to be out for several weeks.

His absence late on was a factor as Brisbane rallied to slash a 53-point lead in the third quarter and send an almighty scare through the Magpies camp.

But the biggest concern surrounds Lions skipper Rockliff, who was taken to hospital after the match with suspected broken ribs and a possible punctured lung.

Rockliff fell in a heap after copping a hard knee to his side during a third-term marking contest with Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe and was clearly in agony as he was taken off the field and substituted out of the match.

“He doesn’t go down Tom, for no reason – we knew it had to be something bad,” coach Justin Leppitsch said.

While the extent of the injury is not yet known, the Lions expect to be without Rockliff for at least the next few weeks, if not much longer.

It’s a killer blow since Rockliff (18 possessions, four clearances) was Brisbane’s best player through a three-quarter stretch where Leppitsch admits his men were “obliterated” over the ball.

“We’ll miss him of course,” he said.

“It’s going to test our leadership as much as anything because he’s the best talker of our group, the best organiser of our group.

“It’s going to be left to a few others to fill the void there.”

Leppitsch was at a loss to explain his side’s dramatic fightback, which saw them score the final seven goals on the back of a listless, clumsy performance across the rest of the game.

Asked if he had inspired the turnaround with some choice words at three-quarter time, Leppitsch said he only repeated a message that had earlier failed to get through.

“It’s what I said to them at half-time,” he said.

“That didn’t work.

“What I said at quarter-time didn’t work so what does it matter?

“Realistically, sometimes when players are in a state they’ve got to be able to regroup mentally.

“You can talk to a player, it doesn’t mean they’re listening.

“In these moments you’ve got to be able to be composed, take what’s coming and deliver.

“We failed for most of the game, so there’s good lessons.”

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