K rock Football

Big names to boost Lions

Leopold defender Jye Cross looks set to return from injury for Saturday’s clash with Bell Park. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

KEY defender Jye Cross is among up to four likely key inclusions for what looms as a season-defining clash for Leopold against fellow finals contender Bell Park at Hamlyn Park on Saturday.

Cross, Joel Moloney, Cooper Cartledge and Andrew Pepper, who has served a two-week suspension resulting from an incident in the win over Lara, are all in the frame to take on the Dragons.

However, the Lions will be without star midfielder Marcus Thompson following his inclusion in the Vic Country team for Saturday’s clash with the VAFA.

“There’s four potential changes, and that will depend on how we want to match-up against Bell Park,” coach Guy Morphet said.

“We may not bring all four in, but we might as well.”

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In further good news for Leopold, captain Sam Hughes and fellow premiership players Kevin Bourke and Brandon Howarth look set to return from extended layoffs.

However, Ollie Tate is likely to be required by VFL club Williamstown, while quality half-back Tom Gordon remains sidelined with a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Round 3.

“I think Tom’s still going to be (another) two weeks,” Morphet said. “As a result of his time out, he’s actually got a little bit of tendonitis, I think, in his hamstring.

“We’ll be taking a very cautious approach with Tom.

“He’s the sort of that we don’t want to rush back into the side, but it would be nice in the next couple of weeks to get some match fitness under his belt before we start getting into the tough end of the season.”

Morphet isn’t shying away from the importance of the clash with the Dragons.

A win will keep fifth-placed Leopold in touch with the double-chance, while a loss could see last year’s preliminary finalists only two points clear of South Barwon and St Mary’s

“We’re under no illusion about how big the game is this week, and we’re aware of Bell Park and what they can produce,” Morphet said.

“They probably went into the St Mary’s game not being the favourite but showed they can mix it (with the best) with their list.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game. Bell Park away’s never easy, so we’re certainly up for the challenge.”

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