Tuesday 24 August 2010

Morningside will play the guessing game with star onballer David Lillico all week in the lead-up to Sunday’s QAFL qualifying final at Southport.

Coach John Blair said there would be no secrets because the Panthers play in the reserves curtain-raiser against Mt Gravatt at 11am at Fankhauser Reserve.

Southport will know early next week when the reserves play.

“It’s not as if we can hide it with him, the Browns or Delbridge, we’ll wait and see,” Blair said of the final make-up of his team.

Blair intimated Austin Lucy, Alastair Nash and Jake Thomlinson were all likely to return after missing last weekend’s high scoring win over Redland.

While both were among the Panthers’ best players, twins Josh and Sam Brown, Kent Delbridge, and youngsters Jesse Wallin and Josh Breukers are all under the selection microscope, along with former longtime captain Lillico.

Lillico missed 17 weeks after undergoing LARS surgery to reconstruct his knee and was rushed straight into the senior side last weekend.

He looked like a man who had missed four months, but nonetheless has the capabilities to be a matchwinner at finals time.

Lillico’s effort in last year’s grand final was viewed by some as the most valuable of any player on the ground.

Blair said Lillico was not immune to playing reserves on Sunday.

“Nobody’s beyond going back there. Nobody’s protected,” Blair said. “If you look at it Australia-wide, players have been in the reserves in their first game back and not their second. We just wanted to see where he was at with good players around him.
“We had to introduce him to that pace of footy and see where his body was at and where he’s at.

“It will be interesting to see what happens with him this week, where he plays and how he plays, and how we use him.”

Blair admitted Lillico received more game time than was planned – he spent close to an hour of playing time at Victoria Point – because of the pre-match injury to Jack Lawler.

“Unfortunately because of the Jack hurting himself before the game, we had to play him (Lillico) more than we possibly wanted to and in different positions to what we wanted to,” Blair said.

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