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2022 AFL Team Previews: Brisbane Lions

March 1st 2022, 12:01pm, By: Jack Tobin

Brisbane Lions Team Preview

The pressure is on Brisbane after another finals failure last season, with Chris Fagan’s honeymoon period over. Can the Lions handle the immense expectations that will hang over them this season?

Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while PuntingInDanger and his crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates! 

Brisbane Lions Team Preview

Squad

In: Darcy Fort (Geelong), Darcy Wilmot (Pick 16), Kai Lohmann (Pick 20), James Tunstill (Pick 41)

Out: None

The Lions added some much needed depth to their ruck stocks by acquiring Darcy Fort who will provide a quality back up to Oscar McInerney. Given Eric Hipwood is going to be out until around the halfway point of the year at least, there’s a fair chance that both Fort and McInerney play together early in the season. Wilmot provides an intercept defender for the future for Brisbane, while Lohmann has plenty of x-factor as a medium sized forward and could feature this season.

A straight sets exit for the second time in three years means the Lions come into season 2022 under the most pressure of any side in the competition. The Lions have a 1-5 record in finals since 2019, with five of those six finals being played at the Gabba highlighting how big of an opportunity the Lions have missed over the past three seasons.

Cam Rayner’s return from an ACL injury last season coupled with Zac Bailey’s continual development, the Lions will be looking internally to improve on last season. Dayne Zorko has been pushed to half back, with Rayner and Bailey getting more time in the midfield this season. With Lachie Neale back at full fitness after an injury interrupted 2021, the Lions midfield will be even better in 2022 - a scary prospect for opposition sides.

The biggest question surrounding the Lions will be the makeup of their forward line, which averaged just 69 points across their two finals, after averaging 96 points per game during the home & away season - the most of any team in the AFL. Will the Lions hold with the same structure they used at the end of last season with only Daniher and McStay as the key forwards? Or will they look to add another tall to the mix given the success that the Daniher/Hipwood/McStay trio had during the first half of 2020.

Breakout Player: Zac Bailey

Zac Bailey averaged 18 disposals per game while kicking 31 goals in 2021, and with a more permanent midfield role set for Bailey he’s set to explode in 2022. Bailey has the explosiveness and clash to be a premier midfield/forward in the modern game, and his 17 disposals, 4 marks and 2 goals in last year’s Semi Final shows he can perform on the big stage. Entering his fourth season with 70 games experience now under his belt, Bailey will be a major piece in Brisbane’s premiership push this season. 

What Do The Lions Need To Do This Season?

It’s Grand Final or bust for the Lions this season, it’s as simple as that. Brisbane have been the Cinderella team of the AFL since 2019, but after three consecutive years of finals failures, it’s time for this side to deliver. The Lions will be looking for the likes of McLuggage of Bailey to continue their push into the elite level to get the Lions over the hump. They will have to navigate the challenge of being without Eric Hipwood for the first half of the season, but with Darcy Gardiner returning from injury, Brisbane’s defence will be much improved. There’s depth across every line, and there’s no excuses for the Lions.

 

VERDICT

brisbane lions team preview

The first ten weeks of the fixture is very favourable for the Lions with games against the Power, Bombers, Roos, Cats, Magpies, Suns, Swans, Eagles, Crows and Hawks. It’s difficult to see them being any worse than 8-2 by Round Ten, which provides a massive launching block for Brisbane. In the last three seasons the Lions have a 28-2 record at the Gabba in home & away games, their dominance at home virtually makes them a lock for top four. The weight of expectations will be a new burden for this side, but they will have another tilt at the premiership in 2022.

 

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