Lions keep veterans Brown, Black on ice
The Brisbane Lions, preparing to send half their squad to a high-altitude camp in Arizona, will excuse star duo Jonathan Brown and Simon Black from the bulk of pre-season training.
Captain Brown was only a fleeting visitor to the official start of the AFL club's pre-season work at Coorparoo on Monday morning, a day after wife Kylie gave birth to son Jack William.
Brown will be rested from the two-and-a-half week training camp in Arizona, starting on Wednesday, while Black has demanded to be among the 18-strong tour party of five-plus year players.
But coach Michael Voss said both would otherwise be kept on ice until after Christmas to ensure the triple-premiership veterans are mentally fresh for the 2013 season.
Brown is also recovering from a cycling accident last month when hit by a car.
"We have to be mindful that it was a big bang up and he'll take a low-key approach until Christmas," Voss said.
"It's more mentally getting (Brown and Black) in the right space because physically they come to hand so quickly.
"And both of them are going pretty well."
Brisbane will enter the 2013 season with some momentum after winning their last three matches this year for an improved 10-12 record and a possible springboard into finals reckoning.
Voss was well pleased with how his squad - including former Melbourne duo Stefan Martin and Brent Maloney - presented at their first training session of the pre-season.
"The one thing they've started to learn is the physical capacity to be able to play AFL and what it takes to get themselves going, and we have enormous growth in this group to come," he said.
Reigning club champion Joel Patfull went within inches of winning the 2km time trial, pipped on the line by young midfielder Jack Crisp in a sprint finish.
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