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.
“It doesn’t make it any easier but the bottom line is that the battle’s got to be won at ground level,” he 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.”
Tom Fullarton could potentially shift into the ruck, while Connor Ballenden could come into the side and Joe Daniher could well pinch-hit if required.
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.
But the Magpies will have to replace Jamie Elliott (broken 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 keeping 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.”
(C) AAP 2021