There’s a feeling among AFL coaches that the Gabba ground is too hard and could be causing their players injuries.

AFL heavyweights disagree with the claims that could result in them having to make big changes.

Cathy Niven reports.

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No sign of the Brisbane Lions’ captain Jonathan Brown and Forward Brendan Fevola at training today.

The club’s assistant coach downplayed their absence by saying that because of Sunday’s game against the Crows their visit to an Adelaide physio has been planned for weeks.

Jade Rawlings, Assistant Lions Coach: “It’s part of their maintenance it’s not to say that they’re any worse or decreased in where they’re at, it’s part of their maintenance which has been planned for quite a while.”

Meanwhile Ash McGrath and Mitch Clark trained today but Friday’s training sessions will determine whether they’re included in Sunday’s lineup.

But the hard Gabba surface has drawn criticism from some AFL coaches linking it to player injuries.

Rodney Eade, Bulldogs Coach: “It certainly is hard as the Gabba is hard as well so I’d hate to be Brisbane playing at the Gabba all the time.”

Mark Thompson, Geelong Coach: “Well I’ve been plugging along about this for about six weeks and it’s got no airplay.”

But the AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou disagrees.

Andrew Demetriou, AFL CEO: “What baloney! The fact is there is nothing. There’s nothing in any of the data to show that the surfaces are linking to injuries.”

His view supported by Jade Rawlings.

Jade Rawlings, Assistant Coach Lions: “I don’t think you can trace it back to the ground and injuries. There’s been injuries, we suffer them every week on every ground.”

In the west a problem of another nature disgraced Fremantle Dockers defender Michael Johnson is yet to be sentenced on drug charges but has been banned from all club activities.

His coach and team mates refused to comment but the club CEO says it’s a hard situation.

Steve Rosich, CEO Fremantle Dockers: “We are very disappointed that Michael has placed himself in a situation that has allowed these circumstances to arise.”

Cathy Niven, QUT News