Lions nice Simon Black says something wanting a grand closing berth would quantity to a “disappointing” 2023 season for a star-studded Brisbane line-up.
The Lions have been spectacular of their 46-point apply match win over reigning AFL premiers Geelong at Springfield on Thursday evening.
It delivered to an finish a profitable pre-season marketing campaign that additionally included a 45-point victory over final season’s overwhelmed grand finalists Sydney.
Three-time premiership winner and 2002 Brownlow medallist Black has been significantly impressed with Brisbane’s midfield and its depth.
Not because the halcyon days of the “Fab 4” – Black, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Nigel Lappin – plus a supporting forged that included Luke Energy and Shaun Hart amongst others, have the Lions had such a well-rounded midfield.
This 12 months’s addition of Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft to a midfield that already contains celebrity Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry and Dayne Zorko has Black enthusiastic about Brisbane’s prospects this 12 months.
“The Lions midfield hasn’t been like that for 20 years,” Black mentioned.
“There’s a lot depth. You take a look at somebody like Jarryd Lyons, who was at one stage at computerized choice and is now going to search out it powerful to get a run in Brisbane’s high 22.”
Black mentioned the Lions’ low season additions, together with former Bulldogs star Dunkley father-son choose Ashcroft and ex-Hawthorn ahead Jack Gunston, had raised expectations about Brisbane’s hopes of breaking its 20-year premiership drought.
“Something lower than a grand closing look this 12 months could be disappointing for the Lions,” Black mentioned.
“It’s their subsequent step. They’ve been in and round that high 4 for a couple of years now, performed in a few preliminary finals, in order that they’ve bought the expertise.
“They’ve bought the expertise to win the flag within the subsequent couple of years.”
Black’s triple premiership-winning teammate Alastair Lynch anticipated the Lions – who open their season on March 18 in opposition to Port Adelaide – to make it to no less than the “final couple of weeks” of the finals this 12 months.
“They have been excellent (in opposition to Geelong) and so they confirmed they may regulate after being overwhelmed on the centre clearances early within the match,” Lynch mentioned.
“Dunkley was the very best participant on the sphere, and there’s rather more depth within the midfield with Zorko to return again (from a hamstring damage) as effectively.”
Former full-forward Lynch was additionally appreciative of the “expertise and sophistication” Gunston delivered to Brisbane’s present ahead line.
“Jack can be an important assist to the remainder of the forwards,” Lynch mentioned.
In the meantime, Lions pair Eric Hipwood (hip) and Jack Payne (hamstring) have been cleared of great damage after failing to finish Thursday evening’s match.