For the first time in his Brisbane career, Jarryd Lyons won’t have fellow midfield star Lachie Neale alongside him when the Lions host Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday night.
The pair, who both joined the Lions in 2019, were scheduled this weekend to celebrate 50 AFL matches each for Brisbane.
However, an ankle injury suffered by Brownlow medallist Neale in the Lions’ 18-point win over Carlton last Saturday at Marvel Stadium means it will only be Lyons achieving his half-century Brisbane milestone against the Power.
“It’s like a little break-up,” Lyons said.
“We’re going to miss him (Neale) out there. It’s going to be different out there having one less leader in that midfield. He’s been great to bounce ideas off together rolling through there.
“(But) it just means blokes like ‘Zorks’ (captain Dayne Zorko) and Zac Bailey are going to come through there a bit more regularly and step up.”
As are fringe players such as Rhys Mathieson, who seems set to receive a rare AFL opportunity in the absence of Neale, who will be sidelined for eight weeks.
Jarryd Lyons will celebrate 50 AFL matches for the Lions this weekend. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“For a bloke that’s probably been one of the most unlucky footballers going around at the moment, his team-first mentality over the last six weeks has been amazing,” Lyons said.
“He’s just always up and about. I think he’s been emergency (player) every week. He’s always with our group with these training sessions, he’s just happy, he’s always up and about, he’s the barometer for us … he’s worked so hard to get there.
“He reminds me of myself in the early days when I couldn’t crack (a spot). I’ve been empathising with him and keeping him up and about, but he’s certainly done that himself.
“Everyone wants to see him do well. He deserves to do well.”
Mathieson’s determination and hardworking attitude will be crucial against a Power side that has won five from six this season.
The Lions’ record of three wins and three losses has been less convincing, although the hosts are chasing a third successive victory this weekend.
“We didn’t show up early days … three and three is fair,” Lyons said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do now, but it’s good to square the ledger again.”
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