Fringe players in form
Brisbane Lions Football Club
Mon 9 April, 2001

The Brisbane Lions’ rucking stocks could not be in better shape with Clark Keating and Beau McDonald playing well against North Melbourne and back-up Trent Knobel dominating in the reserves yesterday (Sunday).
Keating’s return from long-term injury was always going to make it difficult to squeeze three ruckmen into the senior line-up, but Knobel is making sure he is ready and in-form should the call-up come.
Knobel, who played the last 10 games of 2000 after being elevated from the Rookie List just over 12 months ago, has produced several solid efforts in recent weeks. But he took his game to a higher level against the Northern Eagles at the Gabba yesterday.
Playing on the ball for most of the day, Knobel provided a target around the ground and filled the hole in defence superbly, just as McDonald did through the latter stages of the second game. He finished with 12 kicks, 11 handballs and eight marks for the day in the Lions’ comprehensive win.
The Eagles matched the Lions in a scrappy trial at Zillmere four weeks ago, but struggled from the outset in the first round of the AFLQ pre-season competition. The Lions won 21-8-134 to 4-3-27.
Another player elevated from the Rookie List last year on the fringe of senior selection, Nathan Clarke, played a dashing game off half-back. Clarke collected 24 possessions but was damaging with his run downfield.
Youngster Richard Hadley again found plenty of the leather, snaring 21 kicks and 11 handballs in another efficient display in the midfield. He and Brad Scott directed traffic through the middle of the ground, with Scott handling the ball 21 times until rolling an ankle midway through the third term.
Utility Des Headland was poleaxed chasing a hard ball in the first term, but fended trainers away after appearing groggy for several minutes. He went on to gather 21 possessions and threw himself headfirst into a pack not long after his hard knock, an effort which lifted his teammates and no doubt pleased the coaching staff.
Last year’s All-Australian under 18 representative Jamie Charman strung together his second impressive game in a row. He marked strongly under pressure and gave a real presence to the team both up forward and on the ball.
Craig Bolton totally blanketed Lions pre-season triallist and leading Eagles full-forward Matthew Smith, while fellow defender Luke Weller was prominent at half-back and half-forward.
The liveliest forward on the ground was second-year Rookie List player Hayden Kluver, who produced his best form of the pre-season. Kluver ran far and wide, led hard for his teammates down field, and finished with three good goals of his own. The former 100-goals-in-a-year Sherwood junior sparkled up forward after playing a rugged defensive role in previous weeks.
Daniel Bradshaw earned 15 possessions and took four marks, but wasn’t amongst the goals, having several stints in the midfield.
Other winners in the first round of the three week pre-season competition were Southport over Morningside, Mt Gravatt against Broadbeach, Western Magpies over fellow newcomers Mayne Tigers, and Redlands by three points over Labrador.
The Lions Reserves play Southport in the second round at Broadbeach on Easter Sunday at 2pm.