AFL: Lions ready for tough task of beating Geelong


Revitalised Brisbane Lions defender Jack Payne has hailed the “great job” that has allowed teammate Charlie Cameron to play against Geelong on Saturday.

Star forward Cameron had a one-game ban for a dumping tackle on Jake Lever in the Lions’ 22-point win over Melbourne last week reduced to a fine by the tribunal due to “exceptional and compelling circumstances”, including his clean record in his 207-game career, despite not downgrading the incident’s impact from “medium” to “low”.

The decision has caused an uproar, with AFL chief executive officer Andrew Dillon saying the league had considered the one-match suspension to be the correct sanction.

Payne was reluctant to comment on whether clean records and references – which Cameron received from AFL great Eddie Betts among others – should be considered when deciding on the severity of a sanction.

However, Payne was delighted that Cameron was free to take on the unbeaten Cats at the Gabba.

“It is a massive boost,” he said.

“He’s obviously such a vital member of the club. He lights up the Gabba which is great, so it’s fantastic to have him.

“The match review panel and the AFL did a great job, and same with the club, in allowing Charlie to get off and play this week.”

After losing their first three matches of the season, the Lions are chasing a third successive win on Saturday as well a maiden 2024 Gabba victory.

Payne was a selection fall guy after a poor performance in Brisbane’s one-point Opening Round home loss to the Gabba but has fought his way back to play in the Lions’ past three games.

“It was a little bit disappointing. I didn’t have the greatest second half against Carlton but I went back to the `twos’, knew what I had to work on and got my confidence back,” he said.

“I feel like the last two weeks I’ve been able to find my form again and regroup.

“I’ve gained my belief back. It doesn’t take a great deal to get it back.

“You’ve just got to hold your head high and be ready for the opportunity when it comes again.”

Payne also suffered the disappointment of missing last year’s grand final after suffering an ankle injury late in the season and failing to force his way back into Brisbane’s team.

“Unfortunately, sometimes in sport injuries happen. Unfortunately, in my case, injury happened at a bad time in finals, but I’m really positive of all the work I did in that few weeks to try and get up for it (the grand final), but it’s a new year, a new season, and I’ve moved on from that.” he said.

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