Undermanned Lions up for Grundy ruck test

·2-min read

Brisbane will think outside the square to deal with the ominous task of taking on Collingwood AFL gun Brodie Grundy without a first-choice ruckman.

Oscar McInerney hasn't recovered from an ankle injury suffered against Geelong in time to face the Magpies, while Archie Smith was already unavailable through injury.

Coach Chris Fagan said Brisbane would be "making do" with players "tall enough to play" in the ruck for Thursday night's clash at Marvel Stadium.

Fagan handed 199cm forward Connor Ballenden a call-up among three team changes, and the 22-year-old could share the tap duties with fellow spearheads Tom Fullarton and Joe Daniher in what would be an unorthodox ruck set-up.

"It doesn't make it any easier but the bottom line is that the battle's got to be won at ground level," Fagan said.

"It's not just about the hitout - it's about what happens when the ball hits the ground.

"So we're going to have to come up with a good strategy tomorrow night to mitigate that because Brodie Grundy usually wins the hitouts against most ruckmen that he plays against."

Fagan dropped Jaxon Prior and Harry Sharp to make way for defender Marcus Adams and Deven Robertson.

Grundy, who has averaged 45 hitouts in two games, and forward Jordan De Goey are both set to play after they returned negative coronavirus test results.

The Magpies made just one change, recalling veteran Chris Mayne in place of Jamie Elliott, who is expected to be sidelined for up to three months with a fractured fibula.

Meanwhile Fagan said Lachie Neale was fit to face the Magpies after a lighter week on the training track and he hoped umpires would be keep an eye out for any untoward tagging tactics and blocking off the ball.

The Brownlow Medallist was held to just 16 touches by Geelong's Mark O'Connor while on Monday, Collingwood counterpart Nathan Buckley flagged using Levi Greenwood in a shutdown role.

"It's not just for Lachie, it's for all midfielders when it happens. It's no problems with them being tagged, just make sure that the tactics are legal," Fagan said.

"There were times when Lachie was blocked well and truly away from the contest and I think the rules say (the ball has to be within) five metres."