After several years of being top four and going so close, the Lions have gone hard via the trade period and the draft to take the next step as genuine contenders. Season 2023 looms as crunch time for this outfit who undoubtedly have the quality to feature on the last Saturday in September.
The arrivals of Josh Dunkley, Will Ashcroft, Jack Gunston and Conor McKenna have sent a ripple through the competition and put everyone on notice. The Lions mean business and are determined to make the most of a deep list that is in its prime.
Last season they again went deep into September, however, were unceremoniously dumped from the finals by a rampant Geelong. That follows their straight-sets exit in season 2021 and another preliminary final loss to the Cats in 2020.
Though they finished sixth on the ladder, the Lions won 15 games and were one win off a top-four spot given their healthy percentage. They didn't need the double chance in the end, knocking Richmond out narrowly before stunning reigning premiers Melbourne at the MCG.
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Though the season ended on a sour note, the Lions have plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2023. They are in their prime, boast one of the best on-ball brigades in the competition and have recruited elite talent all over the park.
Brisbane are going to be one of the great teams to watch in 2023, however, with so much potential also comes a heavy weight of expectation. Here are the burning questions ahead of this season for the Lions.
1. Will their much-hyped recruits take them to the promised land?
The Lions were aggressive in their pursuit of quality players to add to their list, crucially acquiring Josh Dunkley to add more of a presence at the contest and class at stoppages. He looms as the missing piece for Brisbane, who have been crying out for a bull with class in the midfield.
They have finally had some luck when it comes to the father-son rule and like Collingwood the year before with Nick Daicos, it couldn't have turned out any better for the Lions. Despite finishing in the top four, they managed to land the best young player at the draft in Will Ashcroft.
By all reports, Ashcroft and Dunkley have slotted in seamlessly and added crucial depth to the Lions' midfield. The cherry on top was landing former Hawthorn sharpshooter Jack Gunston and former Essendon speedster Conor McKenna to compliment their already bulging list.
All are going to make the Lions a better team, though McKenna may find it tough going breaking into their backline. But will the class and power of Dunkley, the premiership-winning forward craft of Gunston and the youthful fearlessness of Ashcroft be enough to return Brisbane to the Grand Final? It shapes as a fascinating watch in 2023.