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Dalziell a shoo-in, says Matthews

JONATHAN Brown and Simon Black are no longer the first picked at the Brisbane Lions.

Well, not this week at least.

A welcome selection headache may await Lions coach Leigh Matthews with Brown and Black backing up from niggles and Jed Adcock and Joel Macdonald set to return from injury against Richmond on Saturday night.

But Matthews says draftee Bradd Dalziell is already locked in for their crucial clash.

Dalziell earned his AFL debut last weekend against West Coast thanks to a quad injury to Adcock and Matthews said the former was guaranteed a game this weekend even if Adcock passed a fitness test.

Barely 12 months after languishing in the East Fremantle reserves team, Dalziell amassed 32 possessions in Brisbane's 46-point thrashing of West Coast.

It is the most disposals by an AFL player on debut, according to Champion Data records which go back to 1993.

It is understood Dean Greig's 39 disposals on debut for St Kilda against Carlton in round 21, 1991 is the best ever.

"I think it would be a big call to leave him out next week. He certainly did well, so he'll hold his spot in the team," Matthews said of Dalziell.

"He had an exceptional first day with regards to getting the ball in his hands."

Matthews didn't expect Dalziell to get ahead of himself against the Tigers as the Lions look to keep their top eight finals hopes alive.

"He's actually quite a quiet kid and I don't think he's the type of kid that is going to get too full of himself," he said.

"You often find that your first game is the easiest game of football you will play for a while because you're new to both the game and the opposition.

"He's not a teenage first-year player. He's 21 and been around the AFL system and had plenty of kicks in the pants.

"He's been through the hard times so I don't think he is all of a sudden going to think that the AFL is a piece of cake."

Adcock and Macdonald (ankle) will have fitness tests this week while Brown (shoulder), Black (hip) and Luke Power (shoulder) are expected to back up for the clash against Richmond after soldiering on against West Coast.

The Lions have not beaten Richmond since 2004 and have lost their last three games in Melbourne.

"We've lost a couple of games recently but we've been going okay while Richmond have been in a really good patch," Matthews said.

"We're playing an opposition that is probably better now than their position on the ladder indicates."