Sport AFL Dockers tough as teak

Dockers tough as teak

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After thrashing an injury-hit Collingwood last weekend, Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch has warned his young Lions they couldn’t be facing a more different opponent this Sunday.

The Lions welcome Fremantle to the Gabba for their final home match of the season, a game that will double as a farewell for retiring premiership star Ash McGrath.

After flogging the Magpies by 67-points at the MCG last time out, Leppitsch had a simple message for any of his players expecting a similar day out against the top four-hunting Dockers.

He said memories of an 83-point loss to Fremantle back in round 14 where the Lions were held to just one point in the opening half were still very much in his mind.

“We’re pretty realistic as coaches, they (Magpies) were a pretty depleted team,” Leppitsch said.

“We’re coming up against a team this week that just beat Hawthorn, who most consider as the best team in the competition.

“The last time we played them, I can’t remember how many points it was because I stopped counting at three-quarter time.

“We’ve a lot to prove against Fremantle this Sunday. I don’t think we can, for a second, look back at last week.”

McGrath, who will make his 215th and final AFL appearance on Sunday, has come into the side for injured youngster Marco Paparone, in the only change to the team which thrashed the Magpies.

The Dockers have included gun forward Hayden Ballantyne along with Garrick Ibbotson and Nick Suban.

The trio come in for suspended Nat Fyfe and injured Michael Barlow (thumb) with Max Duffy omitted.

Fremantle assistant coach Simon Lloyd told the club’s website Ballantyne’s return from a hamstring injury was a big plus.

“He got very, very close to playing last weekend,” Lloyd told

“He’s trained really well and he gives us that great energy going into this weekend.”

Sunday’s game will also be Docker Danyle Pearce’s 200th AFL appearance.