Eric Hipwood, Hugh McCluggage and Luke Hodge will return for the Brisbane Lions against North Melbourne this weekend after the trio were named in Senior Coach Chris Fagan’s 22-man side earlier this evening.
Hipwood and McCluggage were both absent from the team’s Round 17 win over Port Adelaide. Hipwood had a minor knee injury while McCluggage had hamstring tightness. Hodge was managed for the round.
“Eric and Hugh both trained this morning and got through training well,” Fagan told local media earlier today.
Ryan Lester, Ben Keays and Josh Walker have been omitted this week, which was a tough decision for Fagan.
“It’s not easy because everybody played their role last week and it was a great team performance,” he said.
“The reality is those three guys have been high achievers, high performers this year and they need to come back into the team.”
Daniel Rich has been named at half back for his 200th AFL game for the Brisbane Lions. When Fagan met him for the first time in November 2016, he told the veteran he believed his best football was still ahead of him. His form in 2019 has justified that belief.
“I’ve watched Daniel Rich from afar and I loved the way he kicked the ball and his body strength,” he said.
“All I can say is since I’ve been here, he’s been fantastic.”
The Kangaroos will be tough on Saturday night after producing some impressive performances in recent weeks – including a shock defeat over Collingwood in Round 15.
“They’re just playing that tough brand that North have become famous for,” Fagan said.
“They’re great at contested ball, great at stoppages and not mucking around with the footy.”
In: Luke Hodge, Hugh McCluggage, Eric Hipwood
Out: Ben Keays (Omitted), Josh Walker (Omitted), Ryan Lester (Omitted)
Milestone: Jarrod Berry (50 AFL Games), Daniel Rich (200 AFL Games)