After a strong 2022 campaign, the Lions fizzled out in a disappointing preliminary final defeat against the Cats. With a deep list that's in its prime, they would have been hoping for so much more, leading to a big off-season of recruiting.
They were a powerhouse for much of 2022 and made a statement ending the Demons' season at the MCG in the semi-final, showing that they were a contender. While they won 15 games and plenty went right on-field for the Lions, things started to go awry when Marcus Adams went down, costing them a crucial piece of their defensive foundation.
Injuries, form and a perceived lack of big bodies at the contest looked to leave them exposed when push came to shove, which the Cats capitalised on. Their much-vaunted midfield was smashed in the contested game in their most crucial match of the season.
Season 2023 has already started off in interesting fashion for the Lions, being smashed by Port Adelaide and found wanting against the Western Bulldogs. Yet they've also managed to beat the two teams that most consider being the benchmark in the competition in Melbourne and Collingwood.
At the moment, they are a bit Jekyll and Hyde, searching for consistency while clearly in their premiership window, having gone about solidifying their talented list by recruiting Josh Dunkley, Conor McKenna, Jack Gunston and landing gun father-son recruit Will Ashcroft.
While there are still minor concerns with bedding in all their new assets, at their best, they are a force to be reckoned with and absolutely a premiership chance once things click.
Yet they would still happily take another player or two to match the kind of depth that the likes of Collingwood now possess.
Here are some options we think might be of interest to the Lions if they were able to 'steal' a rival player.
1. Luke Parker
The Lions aren't short on midfield talent but a player of the calibre and class of Luke Parker would be welcome at every club in the AFL. A natural leader and as tough as they come, Parker excels at the contest and at clearances, something the Lions would dearly love more of in their engine room. His consistency has been a marvel, missing very few games and playing even fewer poor ones.
Though Brisbane now have Josh Dunkley in the mix in their midfield, Parker would instantly improve their starting on-ball brigade. A combination with Dunkley and star Lachie Neale sounds incredibly tough to beat, not to mention well-rounded.
Parker's competitiveness and ability to drift forward for a crucial goal would make him a dangerous asset and allow Neale and Dunkley greater freedom.
In season 2023 to date, Parker is averaging 22.8 disposals, 4.2 tackles, 3.8 inside 50's and 3.8 clearances per game. They're the kind of numbers made more impressive when you consider that they are down on his 2022 numbers, where he went at 24.4 disposals, 6 tackles and 6 clearances per game.
As one of the best captains in the AFL, Parker leads both by action and voice. Anyone who saw the vision of him mic'd up that was released recently could not argue that he is as good as having a coach out on field.
He would arguably be the missing piece in the puzzle for Brisbane as they search for consistency in 2023.