Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch says his injury-hit side is running out of talls with forward Daniel McStay set to miss Sunday’s clash with St Kilda.
McStay suffered a compound fracture to his finger in Brisbane’s loss to Essendon last weekend and could miss up to two weeks of action.
His absence puts further strain on the Lions’ big man stocks, already beset by injury this season with the likes of Michael Close, Jonathan Freeman, Matt Maguire, Jackson Paine, Brent Staker, Trent West and Daniel Merrett currently sidelined.
“It’s disappointing,” Leppitsch said.
“I’m hoping my luck all builds up for the one time, so I can bottle it all up and use it one finals series.
“It is like that at times, you think the footy gods are against you but it all turns around.
“It’s just our turn at the moment.”
The loss of McStay comes on the back of a reasonable run of form from the teenager, who kicked four goals in Brisbane’s win against Carlton three weeks ago.
The Lions have lacked an adequate target inside 50 since the retirement of club great Jonathan Brown.
Leppitsch says he is considering throwing rookie defender Harris Andrews up forward as a temporary measure, but admitted their attacking potency would take a hit with McStay out of the side.
“That’s always a challenge for us, kicking a winning score,” he said.
“It’s a challenge for everyone every week.
“We’re running out of talls, we don’t have much coming back in that area.
“Whether we have to bring in another young key or whether … Ryan Harwood looks ready to go, so we could just slot him back and shuffle a few things around.”
If Leppitsch opts to switch Andrews to the other end of the field, it could leave the Lions light on defence – particularly with Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt set to return from a one-week concussion layoff to take on Brisbane at the Gabba.
The Saints are 15th on the ladder, one spot ahead of the Lions courtesy of a marginally better percentage.
“They’re probably more experienced at the ends of their grounds than us, that’s probably the gap between the two teams,” Leppitsch said.
“Otherwise we’ve got very similar lists, very young and inexperienced in a lot of areas.
“We match up pretty evenly for the most part so it should be a good battle.”