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Rapid recovery: Reliable Lion firms for R1 after PCL injury

Pie's silver lining, Buddy in doubt, milestone men Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with the latest news

RELIABLE Brisbane defender Darcy Gardiner still has some hurdles to jump but is firming to play premier West Coast at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Gardiner injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in January and did not play in either of the Lions' JLT Series matches against Hawthorn and Melbourne.

However, the 23-year-old has made good progress and needs only to impress at training on Tuesday and, more importantly, Thursday's main session to ink his name in the 22.

Brisbane was hopeful of giving him a solid hitout last Friday with some match simulation but, after driving 45 minutes north to Burpengary, was forced to abort when a dangerous thunderstorm hit.

Gardiner has become one of the Lions' most valuable players, finishing fifth in last year's best and fairest despite missing the final two rounds. He has proven he can play on forwards of different sizes.

He is part of a settled backline that includes vice-captain Harris Andrews, Luke Hodge, Josh Walker, Alex Witherden and Daniel Rich.

Brisbane is still mulling over a couple of selection decisions ahead of its match with the Eagles, most notably between Stefan Martin and Archie Smith as the primary ruckman.