BRISBANE is facing a ruck shortfall for the foreseeable future following confirmation Archie Smith has suffered a syndesmosis injury. 

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Smith sustained the injury in Sunday night's four-point win over Melbourne and managed to play the game out. He is expected to miss up to six weeks.

Smith joins Stefan Martin on the Lions' injury list, the veteran missing up to eight weeks with a stress fracture in his back.

The injuries leave Oscar McInerney as the club's sole recognised ruckman.

Brisbane will be a new-look team to play Essendon at Metricon Stadium on Friday night with forward Dan McStay (suspension) and defenders Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester (both hamstrings) also missing.

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High performance manager Damien Austin said Rich and Lester were both on the "minor" end and would usually miss one week.

However, with Brisbane playing Essendon on Friday night, Richmond four days later and the Western Bulldogs four days after that, this could balloon to two or three matches.

Daniel Rich lunges for Harley Bennell. Picture: AFL Photos

The ruck department is the biggest headache.

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The Lions love to play two recognised ruckmen, with Martin and McInerney locked-in since 2018, and Smith playing when either was injured.

It's a formula they will now need to change.

Brisbane will likely turn to Sam Skinner, who played one match in 2017, untried Connor Ballenden, or rookie Tom Fullarton, who could be upgraded.

All three are key forwards that can back-up McInerney for small minutes.