Lion Matthew Leuenberger limps from Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Lion Matthew Leuenberger limps from Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Struggling Lions lament loss of Leuenberger

AFL: Former Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews created a stir last weekend by questioning the value of ruckmen, suggesting hitouts were the most overrated statistic in the game.

If that's the case, and Matthews certainly received some support for his view with Fremantle coach Ross Lyon and Essendon's Mark Thompson agreeing, then the Lions won't miss Matthew Leuenberger for the next 12 weeks.

The big man had surgery yesterday morning after tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee during Saturday's 93-point loss to Port Adelaide, and is expected to miss up to 12 weeks.

Lions general manager of football operations Dean Warren said Leuenberger's loss would hit the team hard.

"He is an integral part of our side and a strong on-field leader - we will definitely miss his presence," he said. "We have lost a wealth of experience due to injury over the last few weeks, so to lose Matthew for an extended period of time will challenge our depth."

Former Geelong ruckman Trent West will have to shoulder the extra workload in Leuenberger's absence, while ex-Demon Stefan Martin could earn a call-up for his first game of the season against Richmond at the Gabba tomorrow night.


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