Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says the Lions can begin their bid to climb off the AFL’s bottom spot with a win against Carlton this weekend.
Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch believes his team have a great chance to climb off the bottom of the AFL ladder over the next few weeks.
Leppitsch says Saturday’s home clash with Carlton is the start of a stretch of winnable games for the struggling Lions.
After the Blues, the Lions travel to Melbourne to take on the Western Bulldogs in round 12 before hosting Greater Western Sydney in round 13.
The Lions have just one win from nine matches so far but Leppitsch believes his team have shown they are capable of picking up more points against those teams down the bottom end of the ladder.
“The year’s proven so far the top four or five teams we’ve played – like Sydney, Port, Hawthorn, Geelong – we haven’t quite been able to match them for long periods of time,” he said.
“There’s others at the lower level that we’ve been able to match for a period of time so I’d put Carlton in that category.
“We’ve got the Bulldogs the week after and then GWS so we’ve got some games coming up where we can be competitive to the point of victory.
“It’s a real opportunity for us. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win any of those, but it gives the guys a little bit of hope.”
The Lions have made six changes to the team who played North Melbourne two weeks ago at Etihad Stadium, with vice-captain Tom Rockliff and Joel Patfull back into the line-up after missing the clash with the Kangaroos due to illness.
Ryan Harwood and Matt Maguire return from suspension while Sam Mayes has been cleared from the concussion which kept him out of the North match.
Rookie Zac O’Brien will also become the seventh player to debut for the Lions this season, less than a year after the 23-year-old’s recruitment from Essendon’s reserves.
“It’s fantastic and it’s a credit to Zac,” Leppitsch said.
“He’s come off a rookie list and done it the hard way. It’s always a good story when that happens.”
The Blues, who defeated Adelaide in a thriller last weekend, have lost Andrew Walker and Dennis Armfield through injury with Andrew Carrazzo and Mitch Robinson their replacements.
Carlton have won four of their past five matches and will be on the verge of the eight with another victory.