Brisbane have the chance to step off the bottom of the AFL table when they play the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
After ten months out of the AFL, Stefan Martin has timed his run back to the Brisbane side to perfection.
Martin, who hasn’t played since round 20 last season, has injured two hamstrings, a quad and a foot muscle in a long lay-off.
But the former Demon is back for the Lions’ clash with the Western Bulldogs just as injury hits other Lions ruckmen.
Trent West’s season-ending knee injury comes with Matthew Leuenberger still seven weeks away from selection.
Martin has endured a tough streak; he’s sung his team song only once in 13 games played since 2011, a round-three win over Gold Coast last year.
Coach Justin Leppitsch said Martin deserved his chance after performing well for Brisbane’s reserves.
“He’s up for it and ready to go,” Leppitsch said.
“He watched (Bulldogs ruckman Will) Minson play on Sunday night, I think he sort of knew he was the next man in line.”
“It’s perfect timing really.
“Thankfully it didn’t happen any earlier than this or else we’d really be short.”
The big motivation for Leppitsch’s side is the chance to step off the ladder’s bottom rung – something the coach said was a goal.
“No one wants to be there but there’s a long way to go,” he said.
“With ten odd games to go… I’d like to think we can win more than five games this year.”
“We think this week we’ve got a really good chance.”
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney could be excused a jealous glance at Martin given their desperate need for a forward target.
They had two dozen more forward entries than Fremantle last week but were soundly beaten by the 2013 grand finalists.
They’ll be boosted by forward Jarrad Grant’s first game this season, replacing Fletcher Roberts.
It could be argued that despite Brisbane’s injury woes, the Lions are in decent form after beating Carlton last weekend.
Their seven-point win was their first since an Anzac Day triumph over St Kilda and Leppitsch’s second as coach.
But to beat the Bulldogs, they will need to defy a woeful Etihad Stadium record which has seen them win just twice in their last 11 matches.