The Brisbane Lions want to see how injury-hit ruckman Matthew Leuenberger would work in tandem with the in-form Stef Martin this AFL season.
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch is treading carefully as he seriously considers recalling ruckman Matthew Leuenberger before the end of the AFL season.
Leuenberger, among the best big men in the league, last weekend completed his first full game since April in the reserves to be an outside chance of playing Collingwood on Saturday night.
Leppitsch is keen to see how the 203cm beanpole would work in tandem with Stef Martin, who has made the most of his career lifeline since Trent West suffered a season-ending knee injury six weeks ago.
But he’s also reluctant to unnecessarily risk Leuenberger with only three matches to go in the 15th-placed Lions’ campaign.
“I guess a side of me thinks `what’s the point?’ a little bit because you only risk injury when you play,” Leppitsch said on Thursday.
“But it’s also for him to get out there and get some continuity and also see him and Stef work together. It would be good for the group.”
Leuenberger has already endured a horror 2014, forced to undergo knee surgery after the round four hammering by Port Adelaide, before aggravating an Achilles problem in his return in early July.
The 26-year-old, who has been restricted to 93 AFL games over eight seasons, has been sorely missed by the rebuilding, injury-hit club.
He was among the Lions reserves’ best players in their 12-goal NEAFL win over Southport on Saturday, but Leppitsch would prefer to see him play two full games before getting a senior recall.
“Your head tells you it’s probably one (game) too early to bring him back now,” the coach said. “We will have to discuss that.
“It’s mainly whether he can get through a game and whether it’s the right thing by him.” After last weekend’s 105-point hammering by Adelaide, Leppitsch might look to add some experience with Andrew Raines, Ash McGrath, Ryan Lester and James Polkinghorne in the selection mix.
He admitted a number of his youngsters were feeling the affects of their first senior season, but that was no excuse for last week’s record Gabba loss – when the Crows piled on eight goals in the last 15 minutes.
“What was mentioned to the guys was that those games can be honourable losses or embarrassing losses and we chose the latter,” Leppitsch said.
“It was an attitude thing and we dropped the ball.”