BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: Brisbane Lions leadership group (L-R) Ryan Lester, Lachie Neale, Jarrod Neale, captain Dayne Zorko (front centre), vice-captain Harris Andrews, Stefan Martin, Allen Christensen and Darcy Gardiner pose for a photograph during the Brisbane Lions AFL Leadership Announcement at Triple M Studios on February 14, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Media/Getty Images)

2018 was a desperately disappointing season for Brisbane with the club finishing 15th on the ladder. Now, they will be looking to turn things around in 2019.

The Lions have looked sharp in pre-season with their new-look midfield catching the eye during their most-recent practice games. Dayne Zorko has been installed as club captain for the forthcoming campaign, and he will be hoping that their strength in the middle can help them push towards the finals.

 

Dayne Zorko during the round 10 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans at The Gabba on May 26, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.

 

Zorko is part of an eight-man leadership group which has been carefully selected ahead of the 2019 season. The 30-year old stepped in to captain the side during the latter half of 2018, replacing the outgoing Dayne Beams and he is relishing the opportunity to lead from the start.

Brisbane are now looking significantly stronger in all areas of the field, but their newly-formed midfield looks incredibly dynamic, and could potentially help them dominate games throughout 2019. The additions of Lachie Neale and Jarryd Lyons should bring some much needed energy to the squad, and they appear to have already developed a good understanding with both the ruckman and other midfielders in the squad.

During each of the Lions’ five practice games, the midfield selection has remained consistent, with the former Fremantle man catching the eye throughout. Neale’s ability to win the ball and immediately distribute it to the runners could be key to Brisbane’s chances this season. He switched allegiances in the summer and he believes that his new employers have enough talent to reach the finals in the next couple of years.

They are currently priced at 29.00 in the latest Aussie Rules betting markets, however the 3.75 for them to finish in the top eight appears to be a more realistic option. Neale has been included in Brisbane’s 2019 leadership group alongside Ryan Lester, Allen Christensen and defender Darcy Gardiner.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 19: Lachie Neale poses during a Brisbane Lions AFL Media Opportunity at the Swan River on October 19, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Neale’s ability to track back and help his side repel the opposition is also likely to come in handy throughout the campaign, and his leadership qualities are also likely to help the development of younger squad members. He will be complemented by Lyons, who will also provide plenty of energy and a willingness to help the forward line.

The pair boasted a commanding presence in the hit-out during their practice games and their recent displays bode well for the forthcoming campaign. They already appear to have a clear understanding of one another’s game, and the midfield already looks far more balanced as a result. 

The club has paid particular attention to the midfield during the draft and their classy recruits should help them climb the AFL ladder this year. Zorko spoke about the quality of Brisbane’s midfield before the Christmas break, and they appear in decent shape ahead of their opener with West Coast on March 23rd. With just five victories under their belt in 2018, Lions fans will be hoping for significant improvement this time around, and their much-improved midfield could make all the difference.