Brisbane’s list looks fairly steady heading into the 2019 season.
The Lions have a high number of promising youngsters in their ranks and are expected to steadily continue their improvement next year and beyond.
Adding to their already talent-laden midfield appears to be an area of need, especially after losing Dayne Beams, while strengthening in the back half is an absolute must.
The Lions were decent enough in attack in 2018, scoring more heavily than both Sydney and Port Adelaide, but an overall balance by shoring up in defence will assist them in becoming a more well-rounded side.
Below is what Brisbane’s best 22 looks like pre-draft:
FB: Luke Hodge, Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner
HB: Alex Witherden, Marcus Adams, Daniel Rich
C: Lewis Taylor, Mitch Robinson, Jarrod Berry
HF: Hugh McCluggage, Daniel McStay, Allen Christensen
FF: Cameron Rayner, Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron
Fol: Stefan Martin, Dayne Zorko, Lachie Neale
Int: Jarryd Lyons, Tom Cutler, Oscar McInerney, Lincoln McCarthy/Nick Robertson
Long term needs
Things appeared rosy when it became apparent Lachie Neale wanted to join the Lions but it soon soured to a degree when Beams up and left.
A midfield trio of Neale, Beams and Dayne Zorko would have been a formidable sight indeed.
So now Brisbane may seek a quality young mid on draft day to help strengthen an area that has lost one of the prime movers in the competition.
The likes of Cam Rayner, Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry are the future and will be midfield staples for many years to come so it is worth adding one or two more to that group who can form a strong foundation in order to continually progress into a finals contender once again.
The addition of Jarryd Lyons offsets their immediate need for a midfielder but a natural ball-winner with outside traits for the future would be ideal.
Short term needs
Only three other clubs had more kicked against them in 2018 and the Lions also easily had the worst defence in both 2016 and 2017, meaning extra strength in the back half is crucial.
Harris Andrews is set to be a star and Darcy Gardiner continues to grow in stature, but there is a void pertaining to general defenders.
The recruitment of Marcus Adams from the Bulldogs was a strong piece of business (provided he can avoid injury and play consistently) but further options would be welcomed by Chris Fagan and his coaching team.
To address this need, there are a couple of defensive types that could appear on their draft to-do list as discussed below.
Draft picks: 18, 30, 35, 56, 78
Who could they target?
Rebounding defender Jez McLennan may feature on the Brisbane agenda on draft day.
His capacity to intercept in the back line before setting up a forward foray must be seen as vital for their needs and could also eventually allow Alex Witherden to move into a more advanced role.
Another academy option could be Draft Combine defender Keidan Coleman, who impressed for the Lions in the NEAFL, while the run off half-back and ability to move into the midfield of Gippsland Power’s Xavier Duursma may also pique their interest.
With any luck, Morrish Medallist Liam Stocker may well still be available at 18 but that scenario appears unlikely. Classy Western Jets midfielder Zak Butters could also be an option if they want to look at improving on the outside.
It makes sense that the Lions will closely be looking at Connor McFadyen as the midfielder has been part of the club’s academy and played in the NEAFL side in 2018.
His size and marking ability make him an attractive prospect and he could be the type of player who fits seamlessly into the on-ball brigade in years to come.
A bid for McFadyen is highly likely but is set to cost them one of their picks in the 30s.
The first year of live trading and having three picks inside the top 35 may see the Lions attempt to work their way higher up the draft order in a bid to land a midfielder of greater quality.