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Fagan: Resting the young players made sense

Michael Whiting,  July 28, 2017 2:10 PM

Chris Fagan says resting three of his young stars this weekend will give the Brisbane Lions a better shot at winning matches in the final month and avoiding the wooden spoon. 

Eric Hipwood, Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage will all remain in Brisbane this weekend while the Lions make the long trip west for Sunday's game against West Coast. 

The Lions play three of their final four matches at the Gabba against the Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast and North Melbourne, with a trip to the MCG in round 22 against Melbourne the only travel.

Coach Fagan said resting the trio of teenagers had been planned weeks ago.

"We looked at our draw and realised three of our last four games are up here at the Gabba," he said on Friday.

"It's a long trip to Perth, we've only got six days to get ready for the Western Bulldogs, so it just made absolute sense to give those blokes a break.

"I'd hate to get to the last two or three games and they're cooked.

"We think by managing them in this manner that they've got their best chance to play their best footy in the last three or four weeks and it helps our team as well."

Hipwood has played all 17 matches, while Berry (15) and McCluggage (14) have also played the majority of the year. 

Josh Schache played 16 matches last year and had to be rested for the final five weeks because of the accumulative fatigue.

With Tom Rockliff's 150th match, along with debuts for Sam Skinner and Academy product Jacob Allison, Fagan said there was plenty to play for in Perth.

Aside from the rested youngsters, Dayne Zorko is missing through suspension and Dan McStay a shoulder injury.

"I said to them yesterday, there's four or five guys coming in this week," Fagan said.

"Those five blokes are coming back in next week but there's no guarantee who the five blokes are that are going out. 

"The pressure's there to perform. 

"They've only got to play their role and do their jobs, and if we want to be a great footy club, we've got to have depth and it gives us an opportunity to look at our depth."