FINDING positives in his team’s performances of late can be difficult for Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch.
But he has been encouraged by the efforts of hard-working hard-nut Mitch Robinson.
Ditched by Carlton at the end of 2014, Robinson has been able to hold his head high most weeks for the Lions while enduring 28defeats from 33games with the club.
Assigned run-with roles in recent weeks, Robinson has quelled the impact of Sam Mitchell (24disposals), Bryce Gibbs (12), Lachie Neale (18) and Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis (16) in the past month.
That’s all while helping himself to 29touches a game, including 39 against the Eagles.
Robinson will be the perfect match-up for Dustin Martin or Trent Cotchin when the Tigers host the Lions at the MCG on Saturday.
“He wasn’t doing it to this level last year,” Leppitsch said of one of his joint-best and fairest winners from 2015.
“He was doing his role really well last year, but he’s completely taking a player out at the moment and adding some numbers, and that’s a rare combination to do both.
“Not surprisingly, he’s been one of our best players this year because he plays 120minutes and focuses on his role for that time, and that’s all you can ask from a playing group,” he said.
“It’s just making sure he knows what his role is, it’s nice and clear.”
The injuries to continue to mount up for the embattled Brisbane, however.
Robinson’s fellow recruits Dayne Beams (knee), Allen Christensen (collarbone) and Tom Bell (knee) are all unlikely to play again this year, while defenders Ryan Harwood (knee) and Tom Cutler (hamstring) have been added to the injury list.
“You want your best amount of talent out there and best amount of luck, and we’ve hit a bit of a snag there,” Leppitsch said.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t compete and play to the best of your ability and we’ve got some great talent out there at the moment.”