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Leppitsch gives Lisle second chance back in defence

IN HIS junior days Jordan Lisle was a promising defender.

So much so he was selected in the 2008 All-Australian Under-18 team at centre-half back, alongside the likes of Michael Hurley, Nic Naitanui, Stephen Hill, Michael Walters and Daniel Rich.

And though he was traded from Hawthorn to Brisbane in 2011 to fill a key forward post alongside Jonathan Brown, the strong-marking 23-year-old appears to have become one of new coach Justin Leppitsch's project players ... back in defence.

"We sat down at the start of the pre-season and talked about it being an option if we wanted to pursue it," Lisle told APN.

"I played a couple of games in the reserves, just getting used to playing down back again - I hadn't done it for three years - but was able to break into the side for round two.''

A strong presence at 196cm and 95kg, Lisle has been working hard on his defensive skills with Daniel Merrett and Joel Patful and backline coach Murray Davis.

"There's always plenty to work on, just positioning stuff, trying to be nice and proactive and take some marks off some opposition kicks and set up our ball movement from there," Lisle said.

After playing five games in three seasons with Hawthorn, Lisle added 13 in his first two with Brisbane, playing a permanent forward, but failing to make an impact.

"Forward is tough, sometimes you're on top of the world, the ball is coming in nicely, you're getting on the end of a few, but some days are really hard," he said.

"And unfortunately the way we've gone the last few years we've more of those tough days. It's been a bit of a struggle at times."

Lisle and Justin Clarke, 20, will take on even more responsibility in defence when the Lions meet Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval today, with Merrett suspended. Creative smalls Angus Monfries and Chad Wingard are both injured, but talls Jay Schulz and Justin Westhoff are still a clear and present danger.

"Hopefully the ball isn't down there as much as last week," Lisle said in reference to the Lions' 53-point loss to Gold Coast in QClash7.

At the other end, ex-Magpie Jackson Paine gets his chance in attack, while midfielders Tom Cutler and Nick Robertson make their debuts in place of Daniel Rich (knee).

- TERRY MALLINDER



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