Tom Fullarton will get the chance to make a claim for a hotly contested round one position after a knee injury ruled Dan McStay out of the side to take on the Gold Coast in the AAMI Community Series match at Metricon Stadium on Monday night.

McStay strained his medial ligament in a training mishap last week. He will avoid surgery but is expected to miss between three and six weeks which would rule him out of contention for at least the opening two rounds of the premiership season.

The arrival of Joe Daniher in the off-season has made the likely Lions’ forward line make-up a hotly debated topic over summer.

Senior coach Chris Fagan has traditionally shown a preference to play two ruckmen with the resting big man spending time stationed in attack alongside McStay and Eric Hipwood.

Fullarton made an impression when he made his senior debut against St Kilda last year showing he could be a deep threat with his contested marking and also making an impact while in the ruck.

Teenage draftee Harry Sharp will make his senior debut for the club, after impressing in a reserves scratch match last week.

His stint at the top level was short lived after an injury against Collingwood however he had shown enough to leave the Lions coaching panel and members and fans excited about what he might achieve in 2021.

With the addition of the 200cm Daniher to the line-up coinciding with the departure of veteran Stefan Martin, Fagan had the multiple options to choose from.

Would it be two traditional ruckmen and two forwards or would Daniher support Oscar McInerney in the ruck?

The forwards certainly weren’t going to make the coach’s decision any easier with McStay and Hipwood both standouts over the pre-season.

The scratch match against the Suns last week may have given the coach his answer but with McInerney, Fullarton, Daniher, Hipwood and McStay all playing due to AFL rules allowing extended squads, it didn’t reveal Fagan’s hand to the outside world.

The injury to McStay means the Lions will go into the only official pre-season game with the more traditional Lions structure.

Fullarton gets his chance to partner McInerney while Daniher and Hipwood will assume the key forward posts.

The other major change to the side that travelled down the M1 last weekend is the return of veteran Mitch Robinson to the senior squad.

Marcus Adams, Harry Sharp and Connor Ballenden also come into the 26-man squad while Ely Smith and Rhys Mathieson will play a full game in the reserves.






Daniel Rich

Harris Andrews

Jack Payne


Brandon Starcevich

Ryan Lester

Grant Birchall


Hugh McCluggage

Cameron Rayner

Jarrod Berry


Oscar McInerney

Jarryd Lyons

Lachie Neale


Dayne Zorko

Joe Daniher

Lincoln McCarthy


Tom Fullarton

Eric Hipwood

Charlie Cameron



Callum Ah Chee

Mitch Robinson

Keidean Coleman

Harry Sharp

Marcus Adams

Zac Bailey


Connor Ballenden

James Madden



Deven Robertson

Ely Smith

Thomas Berry


Rhys Mathieson