Brisbane Lions 2012 Season Preview

2011
Ladder Position: 15th
Win/Loss: 4/18
Percentage: 80.98

Brisbane sunk to a lowly 15th in season 2011, their worst since winning the wooden spoon in 1998. However for those who remember, that season built their triple premiership team, where young guns such as Simon Black, Luke Power and Jonathan Brown were making their mark among the more experienced stars such as Marcus Ashcroft, Chris Johnson and Alistair Lynch.

Thirteen years on and those young guns had developed into the experienced stars, while players such as Matthew Leuenberger, Jack Redden and Daniel Rich are the new crop of young stars who are building a formidable structure for the future.

Brisbane has a strong defence, a fantastic young midfield brigade and a good ruck division. Up forward they have introduced a range of forwards in a bid to replace Jonathan Brown in a couple of years. Amongst them are Aaron Cornelius, Patrick Karnezis and James Hawksley. For Brisbane to improve, they need to find a permanent target apart from Brown whose almost suicidal attack on the ball has led to him being out for extended periods. So while the rest of the team seems rather set, it is the forward line that still needs work.

If Brisbane can develop their forward line enough to kick 15 goals a game, they should account for most bottom eight sides and provide a few upsets for the finalists. Brisbane’s opening round fixture with Melbourne at the MCG is crucial because it could make or break their confidence. I believe they will win about ten games, and finish just outside the eight, however if they have a good start to the season, their second half draw is a bit easier so they could push for a finals spot. Overall, Voss can look forward to the future with how the team is developing.

Key Players:
Jonathan Brown– When looking at inspirational or courageous AFL players, you can’t go past the Brisbane captain who continues to put his body on the line for his team. Arguably the most important player to a team crying out for experience, he leads them with distinction.
Daniel Merrett – Daniel Merrett is one of the most underrated players in the league. While he’ll never win a Brownlow, he is a durable defender who has a spoil-first mentality. While Brown is a barometer in the forward line, Merrett is the key man down back.
Matthew Leuenberger – Matthew Leuenberger’s 2011 season evolved him from a young ruck with potential to a genuine first-class ruckman. Along with McEvoy, he is likely to become a top five ruck over the next couple of years, and another star whom Brisbane will hope can be a huge part of their future.

Young Guns:
Jack Redden – Twelve months ago, very few people had heard of Jack Redden. By the end of 2011, he had established himself in the Brisbane midfield and was racking up the possessions, week in-week out. In 2012, he could potentially push to be the number #1 midfielder at the club which will see how he handles taggers.
Daniel Rich – Rich was controversially taken at #7 in the 2008 Draft after Fremantle chose to pick Stephen Hill. After a remarkable first two seasons at the Lions, he only managed 16 games due to injury and didn’t manage to reach the level expected. In 2012 he will be raring to go, because Brisbane fans have high hopes for him and Redden to become stars of the future.
Tom Rockliff – After being a Pre-Season Draft selection, Tom has really established himself in the Lions’ 22 as a midfielder-forward. He is a strong mark who loves a goal and in 2012 he could become a permanent fixture in the midfield, resting in the forward line.

Final words:
Brisbane would be aiming to make finals, however I think an aim of ten wins will be a massive improvement. In order for that to happen, Jonathan Brown needs to stay injury free, while Josh Drummond and Jed Adcock could pray for a bit of luck and the midfield could lift another step and become a strong young midfield for the future.

Prediction:
7th-12th

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