Brisbane Lions expect to be without All-Australian defender Harris Andrews until at least the first week of the finals after the 23-year-old suffered a hamstring strain in his team’s eight-point win over Collingwood at the Gabba.
His absence is significant as he shapes as a key player in the club’s attempt to win their first premiership since 2003 with Richmond’s Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon and West Coast’s Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling posing significant forward threats.
Lions’ coach Chris Fagan said after the game although scans would be required to assess the extent of the injury he expected it to keep Andrews sidelined for their remaining four home and away games.
“They usually take two to three weeks don’t they so we are probably not going to see Harris again until the finals,” Fagan said.
Fagan said while the injury was disappointing for Andrews he emphasised the opportunity for players who have been waiting for their chance.
“Right on the eve of the finals you never know we might find another player that can help us out,” Fagan said.
“I see it as an opportunity. We know that we will get Harris back at some point but it is an opportunity for somebody else.”
The Lions also lost promising tall Tom Fullarton who was playing just his second game to a quad injury.
Meanwhile the Magpies will be without consistent wingman/forward Tom Phillips after he also hurt his hamstring early in the final quarter of the match.
Phillips was playing his 70th consecutive game but was on ice by the end of the match with Magpies coach Nathan Buckley saying he had suffered a slight hamstring strain. Brayden Maynard also battled through a corked thigh after copping a knock when he took a mark early in the game.
“We have got some great belief …but good football requires you to do the basics well and we didn’t do the basics well tonight,” Buckley said.
Collingwood hope to have match winner Jordan DeGoey back from a finger injury for the final two rounds while defender Jeremy Howe continues his race to be available for the finals if Collingwood make the eight.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.