2019 in a Nutshell
Almost every fan in the land would’ve agreed that the Brisbane Lions looked primed for a push into the Top Eight in 2019, but nobody would’ve guessed that they’d miss out on being minor premiers by mere percentage. From Bottom Four to Top Four in a single season was a remarkable effort and the Lions earned well deserved praise for this feat that two home finals losses could not diminish.
2020 Playing List
|1 Brock Smith||17 Jarryd Lyons||33 Zac Bailey|
|2 Deven Robertson||18 Keidean Coleman||34 Toby Wooller|
|3 Allen Christensen||19 Jacob Allison||35 Ryan Lester|
|4 Callum Ah Chee||20 Cedric Cox||36 Rhys Mathieson|
|5 Mitch Robinson||21 Sam Skinner||37 Brandon Starcevich|
|6 Hugh McCluggage||22 Mitch Hinge||38 Connor Ballenden|
|7 Jarrod Berry||23 Charlie Cameron||39 Corey Lyons|
|8 Ely Smith||24 Marcus Adams||40 Jack Payne|
|9 Lachie Neale||25 Daniel McStay||42 James Madden|
|10 Daniel Rich||26 Connor McFadyen||43 Noah Answerth|
|11 Lincoln McCarthy||27 Darcy Gardiner||44 Archie Smith|
|12 Stefan Martin||28 Cam Ellis-Yolmen||45 Jaxon Prior|
|13 Tom Berry||29 Alex Witherden||46 Oscar McInerney|
|14 Grant Birchall||30 Eric Hipwood||47 Tom Fullarton|
|15 Dayne Zorko (c)||31 Harris Andrews (vc)|
|16 Cameron Rayner||32 Tom Joyce|
|INS:||Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Adelaide), Grant Birchall (Hawthorn), Callum Ah Chee (Gold Coast), Keidean Coleman (Brisbane NEAFL), Brock Smith (Gippsland Power), Deven Robertson (Perth), Jaxon Prior (West Perth).|
|OUTS:||Luke Hodge, Lewis Taylor, Tom Cutler, Nick Robertson, Ben Keays, Josh Walker, Ryan Bastinac, Matt Eagles.|
The Lions status as one of the competition’s top teams is reflected in their fixture with prime time match ups against Collingwood, Hawthorn, Richmond and Melbourne. The negative side of this though is that the only bottom six side from 2019 they play twice is the Gold Coast Suns as opposed to follow up encounters with Geelong and Collingwood from the Top Six. With three of their last four games in Queensland they have the opportunity to build momentum ahead of a return to September.
Five Fearless Predictions
Fortress Gabbatoir will be near unbreachable.
The Lions form at home in 2019 was the building block up which their charge to the finals was built. Despite visits from Richmond, Collingwood and West Coast in 2020, we expect to see Brisbane at least match their 10 & 1 home record from last season.
Hugh McCluggage All Australian.
With the Lions appearing in more high profile games in 2020, you can expect there to be a greater appreciation of the Lions 21-year-old winger Hugh McCluggage. While he is the kind of player who might currently walk through Melbourne unrecognised by many footy fans, this has nothing to do with his ability or performances. There are going to be a number of these fans who will discover this for themselves when watching Brisbane perform under the bright lights of Thursday and Friday Night Football.
Eric Hipwood to be good not great again.
There is a lot to like about the 22-year-old Brisbane tall and there is little question he is on the verge of being one of the competition’s dominant forces up forward. A good lead, and a strong mark, Hipwood will again be the target of many of the Lions forward thrusts but we think he will remain on the verge without taking that next step this season. After 102 goals across the last three season we think he will again kick 35-39 goals with his breakout year still 12-24 months away.
Lachie Neale to be in the Browlow equation to the very last round.
While Neale did record a top three finish in the 2019 Browlow count, he was not really in the running as his former teammate Nat Fyfe stormed away with his second award. In 2020 we expect this to be a little different for the classy Lions midfielder with us predicting him to be in the mix until the last votes are counted. Whether he will walk out of Crown with the medal around his neck or not we are a little less sure, blame Greg Williams receiving no votes after having 40 touches in the last round of 1993. Sometimes umpires see things a little differently to everybody else.
Third time lucky for the Lions.
After suffering a straight sets exit from the 2019 Finals Series we are predicting a different September feeling for the Lions this year. While we are not sure if they will progress deeper into the finals we are confident that they will record the club’s first finals victory since their comeback victory over Carlton in 2009.
While their finals performances in 2019 might indicate a level of over-achievement in the home and away rounds, it’s hard not to be excited by the Lions prospects in 2020. With a list full of young players the sky is the limit with this group but we are predicting a little harder season for the Queenslanders in 2020. Brisbane will finish between fifth and eighth.