Martin set for restart despite knee injury
Lions ruckman Stef Martin is close to completing his fight back from a serious knee injury and could be fit to play in Brisbane's Round 2 clash with Fremantle at the Gabba on June 13.
Martin damaged his PCL in the Round 1 loss to Hawthorn in March but has worked diligently during the COVID-19 lockdown to be in the frame for selection for the resumption of the season.
PCL issues can sideline players for up to 12 weeks but Martin is unlikely to miss a senior match from the injury which could have wiped out half his season.
Out-of-contract at the end of 2020, the 33-year-old started the season in career-best shape and has gradually been ramping up his training workload in recent weeks under the watchful eye of Brisbane medical staff.
"Stef is clearly on track for Round 2,'' Lions general manager of football David Noble said.
"He's been out of the brace for a while now and he has stepped up his agility work. Last week he joined in a couple of sessions so he is tracking well.''
Noble said Martin's professionalism off the field had helped speed-up his recovery.
"Regardless of whether they are injured or not, guys like Stef just have those high standards,'' he said.
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"He is diligent anyway but it probably assists him with his injury.''
Noble said the Lions would be close to deciding on their best 22 by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, Brisbane is exploring the possibility of playing their reserves side in the VFL in 2021 with the future of the second-tier NEAFL in doubt.
Since 2011, the NEAFL has included reserves teams from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and GWS along with the NT Thunder, top NSW state league teams and Queensland clubs Southport, Redland and Aspley.
"At the moment, the NEAFL doesn't look like it's going to come back," Lions CEO Greg Swann told Fox Footy.
"All the northern state clubs need somewhere to play so we've been pushing to perhaps join with the VFL, or an AFL reserves, or an eastern-seaboard AFL reserves.
"If 10 teams in Melbourne run a comp then us four would probably join it, or that's what we've been pushing to do."
"There is a comp, but it's more about getting games into the players who aren't playing.
"If we had to play the Suns four times to reduce costs, and GWS played Sydney four times, then no one has a real problem with that."
An AFL reserves competition is unlikely due to the South Australian and Western Australian clubs who have teams in the SANFL and WAFL.
Eight of the 10 Victorian-based clubs field their own VFL teams.
Originally published as Martin set for restart despite knee injury