Brisbane (7-5, 6th)
What’s gone right: Brisbane have exceeded expectations so far in their 2019 campaign, being a constant threat to opposition sides and, more often than not, showcasing the best version of themselves this year. The Lions youth, headed by stars like Hugh McCluggage and Harris Andrews have been formidable this year, while the elder statesman Luke Hodge has yet again justified Brisbane’s decision to lure him to the Gabba at the end of 2017. Recruitment has been a tick as well, with Lachie Neale proving to be a star acquisition and a Brownlow threat.
What’s gone wrong: Consistency has been an issue for the Lions this season, and it was never more evident than following Saturday’s shock loss to Carlton. Perhaps it’s to be expected of a young and rebuilding outfit, but Brisbane is losing winnable games and showing plenty of signs of inconsistency. As well as the Blues upset, losses to the Bulldogs and Fremantle show that there is still plenty of work to be done for Chris Fagan’s men in the second half of the season.
Best and fairest: While the Lions have certainly had their fair share of contributors in this breakout season, it’s hard to look past anyone other than Lachie Neale. The 26-year-old has been immense this year, averaging over 32 disposals through the first half of this season and firmly imposing himself within the Brisbane midfield from the get-go. The way he is performing you would expect an All-Australian selection, and quite possibly a Brownlow to cap off the season should he continue to perform at such exceptional standards.
Season grade: B
Barring a couple of bad losses and questionable performances, it’s been an excellent first half of the season for Brisbane. While there is still plenty of work to do and by no means are they a sure bet, the Lions may very well be firming for their first finals appearance in 10 years should they deliver in the second half of their 2019 campaign.