Returning Brisbane Lions vice-captain Pearce Hanley has warned fans not to expect too much from him too soon ahead of his AFL comeback on Sunday.
Hanley will make his first appearance of the season against Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium, having undergone career-saving hip surgery back in February.
The Lions have opted to throw Hanley straight into the seniors rather than giving him a game in the reserves first as a consequence of the team’s incredible injury crisis, which this week claimed captain Tom Rockliff (ribs), Claye Beams (knee), James Aish (jaw), Jed Adcock (calf) and Darcy Gardiner (calf).
The Irishman admits whether or not he can run out a full game against the in-form Giants is “the money question”.
“I haven’t had a run in the reserves, but my last two weeks of training have been very hard, I’ve got a lot of Ks up in sessions and hard running as well so I think I’m ready to go,” Hanley said.
Hanley’s inclusion will at least give Brisbane another older head in a side stacked with rookie talent.
“We do have a very young side. While that’s not an excuse we do lack a little bit of leadership,” Hanley said.
“If I do bring anything on the weekend, it might not be much, but I’ll definitely bring my leadership and voice out there.”
Hanley has been a frustrated observer as the Lions struggled to a 2-8 record after 10 rounds.
But he says they have taken plenty out of Sunday’s 22-point home loss to St Kilda.
Brisbane’s strong start was negated in the second quarter as injuries started chopping down players to leave the team with just 17 genuinely fit players to finish the match.
“Two went down and three probably shouldn’t have been playing … and we still managed to fight out the game and give ourselves a chance,” Hanley said.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys and I don’t think our form is as bad as it shows.
“We’re good in patches. We’re obviously rebuilding so we’re not going to win a premiership this year, but I think we’re going well in all the right areas.”