2018 in a Nutshell
Not too many teams have finished bottom four in recent times with the level of overwhelming media positivity that Brisbane did in 2018. More competitive than their win/loss record suggested, and with promising youngsters in key position and midfield, it is easy to understand why. Having taken their licks in recent seasons playing an attractive brand of football, there are high hopes on the Lions making a sharp rise in 2019.
Playing List 2019
1. Ben Keays, 2. Luke Hodge, 3. Allen Christensen, 4. Ryan Bastinac (Rookie), 5. Mitch Robinson, 6. Hugh McCluggage, 7. Jarrod Berry, 8. Elly Smith, 9. Lachie Neale, 10. Daniel Rich, 11. Lincoln McCarthy, 12. Stefan Martin, 13. Thomas Berry, 14. Josh Walker, 15. Dayne Zorko, 16. Cameron Rayner, 17. Jarryd Lyons, 18. Nick Robertson, 19, Jacob Allison (Rookie), 20. Cedric Cox, 21. Sam Skinner, 22. Mitchell Hinge (Rookie), 23. Charlie Cameron, 24. Marcus Adams, 25. Daniel McStay, 26. Tom Cutler, 27. Darcy Gardiner, 28. Lewis Taylor, 29. Alex Witherden, 30. Eric Hipwood, 31. Harris Andrew, 32. Tom Joyce, 33. Zac Bailey, 34. Toby Wooller, 35. Ryan Lester, 36. Rhys Mathieson, 37. Brandon Starcevich, 38. Connor Ballendon, 39. Corey Lyons, 40. Jack Payne, 41. Matt Eagles (Rookie), 42. James Madden (Rookie), 43. Noah Answerth, 44. Archie Smith, 45. Connor McFadyen, 46. Oscar McInerney (Rookie).
INS: Marcus Adams (Western Bulldogs), Lincoln McCarthy (Geelong), Lachie Neale (Fremantle), Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers), Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels), Thomas Joyce (East Fremantle), Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy), Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers).
OUTS: Dayne Beams, Sam Mayes, Jacob Allison, Jake Barrett, Claye Beams, Tom Bell, Rohan Bewick, Liam Dawson, Marco Paparone, Cian Hanley, Jack Frost.
While the Lions only have one double up match against bottom four opposition from 2018, playing just one finalist suggests they have been treated fairly kindly by the fixture makers. The club will be happy to have prime time exposure with an Easter Thursday encounter with Collingwood, a match with even greater spice given it will also see the return to the Gabba of former skipper Dayne Beams.
Five Fearless Predictions
Raised expectations to hurt early.
While being a media darling has made for a lot of feel good stories over the long off-season, it will be an entirely different matter if the Lions don’t live up to the renewed expectations. This might be felt early given the tough start to the season Brisbane has been dealt. In the first five rounds they face West Coast, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Essendon and Collingwood, a difficult task for any club. Unless they can claim an upset or two in this stretch, it might be a completely different media spotlight upon them than they are experiencing at the moment.
More Enjoyable Q-Clashes for Zorko
Lions skipper Dayne Zorko was the subject of much scrutiny after his post game reactions after both 2018 Q-Clashes with the Suns. While he can still expect to spend four quarters up close and personal with Touk Miller, it is unlikely to be a hat-trick of unsavoury post siren antics. With the Lions likely to enjoy relatively comfortable outings each time, you can expect Zorko to respond more appropriately than he did in 2018.
Harris Andrews All Australian
Already one of the Lions most important players, with 76 games under his belt the 22-year-old defender is coming into his prime years. Having proven comfortable against the best forwards in the competition despite his tender years, expect the football world to acknowledge his performances when it comes to the games honours this year.
110+ goals between Hipwood, McStay and Cameron
While Carlton’s Charlie Curnow is the football media’s anointed ‘next big thing’, Eric Hipwood is perhaps deserving of equal billing. The young cub has been extremely impressive in his first three seasons in the AFL, kicking 78 goals from 52 games in a side mired in the bottom four. With Brisbane’s midfield to provide more opportunities in 2019, expect Hipwood to have a break out year and his fellow forwards to dine out too. Pencil in Hipwood, Daniel McStay and Charlie Cameron to combine for 110+ goals this year.
Lincoln McCarthy to announce himself
The injury plagued forward has headed north this year from Geelong, after being able to manage just 29 games since making his debut in 2012. Highly regarded at the Cattery, expect him to make a real impression this year if he can get a clean run with injury.
Brisbane have earned the high expectations placed upon them by media and fans alike ahead of the 2019 season. They produced some impressive performances in 2018, and the combination of an exciting brand of football and a young list lends itself to bold predictions of climbing the ladder. While there are examples of teams improving rapidly from bottom four to contender, there are many more of it taking longer than anticipate. Expect to Brisbane to be better again in 2019 but they are at least another year away from genuinely contending for a finals berth.
Brisbane will finish 12th to 15th in 2019.
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