Lions ruckman out with ankle injury

29 July 2020 18:53:21 GMTPlus10

Brisbane expect ruckman Archie Smith to miss up to six weeks, after suffering a syndesmosis injury.

The veteran's absence will leave Oscar McInerney as the Lions' sole recognised ruckman.

Stefan Martin has already been ruled out long-term with a stress fracture in his back.

Smith was hurt in Sunday's four-point win over Melbourne, where he managed to play the game out.

High performance manager Damien Austin: "Archie did tremendously well to play out the game, he rolled his ankle, and he's in a boot for a couple of weeks."

Coach Chris Fagan will need to field a new-look team against Essendon on Friday.

Defenders Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester are both out with hamstring problems, while forward Dan McStay is suspended.

Speaking of the backline duo, Austin said: "He (Rich) didn't finish the game, it's a minor hamstring strain that would take him out usually for one game but with the proximity of games and the short turn arounds it might be one or two so we'll see how he goes.

"Froggy (Lester) finished the game, he also did a minor hamstring, it's in a different location and is a little bit less than Richie but we'll still have to go with the same process. So where he would generally miss a week, we will see how we go when we get to our game on Tuesday."

Fagan is expected to turn to one of three key forwards to back up McInerney as occasional ruckmen.

Sam Skinner, who played one senior game in 2017, will be in contention along with untried Connor Ballenden, or rookie Tom Fullarton, who could be upgraded.

Brisbane are 17/4 to win the Grand Final.

The Lions are 3/10 to win their next game against Essendon, who are 27/10.

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