Jonathon Brown makes a new friend at Australia Zoo yesterday.
Jonathon Brown makes a new friend at Australia Zoo yesterday. KARI BOURNE

Brown to play Blues

JONATHON Brown and Daniel Rich will play, but Josh Drummond will have to wait until at least round two of the regular season before opening his 2012 campaign for the Brisbane Lions.

After weeks of speculation, skipper Brown all but guaranteed yesterday that he would lead the team out against Carlton in the NAB Cup clash in Maroochydore on March 10.

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Speaking during a visit to Australia Zoo as part of the club's community camp on the Sunshine Coast, Brown said he was likely to miss round two of the NAB Cup against Adelaide in Alice Springs on March 3.

"I want to play most of the pre-season ... play the ones at home on the Gold Coast (round one) and Sunny Coast (round three) and miss the travelling," Brown said.

After missing most of last season because of horrific facial injuries, Brown, who admitted he still had trouble chewing, got through an intra-club practice on Wednesday night with no issues.

He kicked a couple of goals and said there had been no mental scars from the injuries.

"It's such an instinctive game, nothing is going to change," he said. "I just love getting out and playing with the boys."

Drummond and Rich were the only senior players to miss the intra-club trial, apart from Brent Staker (out for the season).

Although coach Michael Voss confirmed Rich would probably play at Maroochydore, he said Drummond was taking longer to recover from his hip operation.

"It's probably unrealistic to think Josh will be available for round one (of the regular season)," Voss said.

The coach also said he was pleased with where the club was at after a luckless 2011 that brought just four wins and a host of injuries to key players.

"I think we're a fair way ahead of where we were (at this time) last year," Voss said.

"Our ball movement in the trial was good and the fitness levels looked good as well."

Voss confirmed the Lions would put their strongest possible side on the paddock against Carlton as the club moved into full preparation mode for round one.

The community camp will wrap up today with visits to schools and a super clinic at Fishermans Road, Maroochydore, from 4pm.


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