Brisbane have played down concerns of an interrupted pre-season for Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale, who is yet to feature in match simulation after undergoing minor groin surgery.

Neale is expected to play in the Lions' upcoming practice match against Gold Coast after missing both of Brisbane's two intra-club hitouts over the past fortnight.

The Lions midfielder has been part of the club's casualty ward for a worrying portion of pre-season so far, however there's little concern the 30-year-old will enter the 2024 season without the needed preparation.

With a four-quarter session to come next week and another full dress rehearsal against the Swans in the Community Series the week after, Brisbane football boss Danny Daly is confident Neale will be ripe for the Lions' season opener in early March.

"Lachie is still working his way back from his surgery over the pre-season," Daly said this week.

"We tossed up whether we'd give him a run (at the intra-club) but we'll give him another week of intense rehab training.

"With another session on the track Tuesday he'll be right to go next week against the Gold Coast.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Lachie Neale of the Lions in action during the 2023 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"Lachie is a seasoned campaigner now, he doesn't need too many games to get going. If we get him through the Gold Coast and Sydney games, that'll be enough preparation for him."

The Lions are also hoping to have Jarrod Berry (shoulder) available to face the Suns, while fellow onballer Deven Robertson (wrist) is hoping to return for the clash with the Swans.

Irishman Conor McKenna is set to miss the Lions' pre-season schedule due to a recent hamstring injury that places him in some doubt for an Opening Round appearance against Carlton.

New recruit Tom Doedee is likely to be back after Brisbane's Round 2 bye, with a grand final rematch the week after against Collingwood viewed as the best-case scenario for the former Crows backman.

Daly said it's likely Doedee will be available between Rounds 3-5 if his recovery remains on course.

"He's got a few hurdles he needs to get through before then," Daly said.

"If he gets through everything he needs to in the next 4-5 weeks that's probably the aim, to get him back (after the bye).

"He hasn't missed a beat, he's going really well. It's all placed on him getting through everything. We'll wait and see where he's at in the next few weeks.

Brisbane Lions recruit Tom Doedee (image via Brisbane FC)

"He's missed a lot of football, so we haven't spoken about what (his return) looks like, whether we give him a couple of games through the VFL program or the AFL team. We'll sit down with Tom in the next few weeks and see what that looks like."

Midfielder Hugh McCluggage has dealt with a minor quad issue to start 2024 but won't be missing any of the action in the lead-up to a crucial campaign for the smooth-moving ball-winner.

The South Warrnambool junior is eligible for free agency this year and is among the headline names off-contract in 2024, with McCluggage likely to be on the radar of several Victorian clubs.

The Lions are looking to continue talks with the 25-year-old and his management, with Daly happy with where negotiations sit despite no pen being put to paper yet.

"No doubt he is, that's been well publicised," Daly said on McCluagge being a priority retention target.

"Hughy is a free agent. He's concentrating on getting through and having another great season for us.

"We've got a great deal of respect for his management, we get along well with his management. We're in initial talks with them and we'll continue talks with them.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Hugh McCluggage of the Lions in action during the Second Qualifying Final AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide Power at The Gabba, on September 09, 2023, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

"We'll work through it and hopefully everything gets sorted out. Positive talks so far. We love Hughy and want him to stay. It's all positive so far."

Brisbane will host the Suns in Springfield on Thursday evening for their first match simulation session, while their opening game of the season proper is set for Friday, March 8 at the Gabba against Carlton.