The Brisbane Lions have backed their own system to beat St Kilda in dropping ruckman Darcy Fort to make room for returning star Joe Daniher.
A cornerstone of the Saints’ success this season has been the potency of their dual ruck threat of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.
The Lions have also performed well with Fort working in tandem with the club’s first-choice ruckman Oscar McInerney.
But Daniher’s return from a shoulder injury after missing five matches meant that for the first time this season, the Lions had their three tall forwards – Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Dan McStay – available for the same game.
As a result, it’s Fort – the off-season recruit from Geelong who has played in all of the Lions’ previous 12 matches this season – has been omitted from Brisbane’s 22 for Saturday night’s clash against the Saints at the Gabba.
“They (St Kilda) have got the two rucks, (but) we’ve just got to go with what we think is our best combination, and we know that Oscar is very capable of playing the large majority of the game in the ruck,” he said.
“He’ll just need a little bit of help from the other boys in the forward line from time to time.
“It’s not like it’s a new thing for us. We played that way for a big chunk of last year, and did so pretty successfully I might add when those three boys (Daniher, Hipwood and McStay) were in the team together with Oscar.
“We won 10 and lost one in that period of time, so it’s just going back to what we know.
“We understand that St Kilda have got two terrific ruckmen, but we’ll back our ruckman in and our systems that we’ve got in place to counteract that.”
Fagan also backed recalled veteran Mitch Robinson to deliver for a Brisbane side keen to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time this season,
“He’s played really well in the reserves, which is what you’re supposed to do when you get dropped,” Fagan said.
“He’s done that over a period of time and we felt like those efforts needed to be rewarded.
“`Robbo’ just brings that vigour. That’s his trademark that he’s played with all the way through his career.
“He understands the wing role particularly well. He’s been doing a good job with that for the best part of five years.”
Giant forward McStay, who has attracted interest from a host of Victorian clubs for next season, will make his 150th AFL appearance on Saturday night
“It’s a big decision, but I can’t really control what’s going on off-field,” he said.
“All I can control is what I’m doing on-field, and just making sure I’m doing everything I can to be the best player and teammate I can be.”