VETERAN ruckman Stefan Martin is on track to return for Brisbane's finals campaign as he continues to make good progress from a back injury. 

Martin has missed the Lions' past seven matches, recovering from stress fractures, with Oscar McInerney excelling in his absence as the No.1 ruckman. 

But Brisbane's football manager David Noble says Martin is almost ready to put his hand up for a recall. 

"Stef was running on Saturday before our practice match with Collingwood. He's actually moving along really well," Noble said. 

"If there's some good progression with him in the next couple of weeks, we might be able to squeeze a practice match in with him before the bye (ahead of finals), which would be pretty encouraging. 

"That's where it is today, we don't know if he gets a little setback or it takes a little longer, but we're really comfortable with the loads he's getting up to." 

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Just a day after AFL.com.au revealed Virgin Australia AFL All Australian defender Harris Andrews would be missing for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury, it was mixed news on the medical front for the Lions as they continue to juggle their big-man stocks. 

Archie Smith has now played two practice matches on return from an ankle problem and is in the frame to replace youngster Tom Fullarton (quad) and partner McInerney against Gold Coast on Wednesday night.

Andrews' absence is a tough void to fill, with one-gamer Jack Payne in line for a call-up. 

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"He's an important player for us, no doubt," Noble said of Brisbane's vice-captain. 

"He's able to do his job because we get good ball pressure up the field. 

"It's not just about him and his one-on-ones, they're obviously really special and he does a great job, but there are other elements to our defensive capabilities. 

"We'll just have to work harder in those other areas." 

ROUNDS 16-18 Check out the full fixture

One man Brisbane won't be able to turn to is Marcus Adams, now on the long-term injury list and out for the remainder of the 2020 season with a fractured foot.