13/04/2024

The Lions will aim to go one better in 2024, claiming their first AFL premiership since 2003. (Image: Joshua Davis)

After a heartbreaking four-point Grand Final loss, can the Lions bounce back in 2024 to claim the premiership?

2023 Overview

For the fifth consecutive season the Lions played finals, making it all the way to the Grand Final this time before narrowly falling short to the Magpies in a four-point defeat.

After losing their 2020 and 2022 Preliminary Finals, both times to Geelong, the Lions made the Grand Final for the first time since 2004.

Despite the loss, Lions fans would certainly be proud of what the club was able to accomplish, and equally as eager for their team to return stronger in 2024.

It was a fantastic home and away season from the Lions, winning 17 matches and scoring the second most points in the league, only behind the Adelaide Crows.

Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft both slotted into the midfield brilliantly in their first seasons as Lions and did not disappoint, playing important roles in what was a dominant midfield unit.

Despite the Lions’ nearly perfect season at the Gabba, their winning record in Melbourne continues to be an issue having won only two of their seven matches played last year (including the Grand Final). This continuous issue is something which needs to be overcome moving forward if they do want to win the flag.

Midfielder Lachie Neale had another brilliant season too, taking out the Brownlow Medal. It was his second time claiming the award after his victory in 2020.

Off-Season Changes

In: Tom Doedee (Traded – Adelaide), Brandon Ryan (Traded – Hawthorn), Logan Morris (National Draft – Pick 31/Western Jets), Luke Lloyd (National Draft – Pick 42/Sandringham Dragons), Zane Zakostelsky (National Draft – Pick 51/Claremont), Reece Torrent (National Draft – Pick 64/Peel Thunder), Bruce Reville (Academy).

Out: Jack Gunston (Traded – Hawthorn), Tom Fullarton (Traded – Melbourne), Rhys Mathieson, Darryl McDowell-White Jr, Blake Coleman (delisted), Nakia Cockatoo, Daniel Rich, Marcus Adams (retired).

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Fixture

Opening Round – Carlton (Home)

Round 1 – Fremantle (Away)

Round 2 – Bye

Round 3 – Collingwood (Home)

Round 4 – North Melbourne (Gather Round, Home)

Round 5 – Melbourne (Away)

Round 6 – Geelong (Home)

Round 7 – GWS Giants (Away)

Round 8 – Gold Coast (Home)

Round 9 – Adelaide (Away)

Round 10 – Richmond (Home)

Round 11 – Hawthorn (Away)

Round 12 – Bye

Round 13 – Western Bulldogs (Away)

Round 14 – St Kilda (Home)

Round 15 – Port Adelaide (Away)

Round 16 – Melbourne (Home)

Round 17 – Adelaide (Home)

Round 18 – West Coast (Away)

Round 19 – Sydney (Home)

Round 20 – Gold Coast (Away)

Round 21 – St Kilda (Away)

Round 22 – GWS Giants (Home)

Round 23 – Collingwood (Away)

Round 24 – Essendon (Home)

Looking at 2024

The Lions look threatening heading into 2024, with their list remaining largely the same and a lot of their first and second year players having now experienced finals. This will give them confidence heading into a year where they expect to challenge once again.

Will Ashcroft should rejoin the side later in the season, after suffering a ruptured ACL injury last season against the Cats. His work was truly missed in the finals series, and his input will be more than welcome when he does return to the side.

Tom Doedee too will be a terrific injection of experience in the backline, following Daniel Rich’s retirement. Lions fans will be excited with what he can bring given his brilliant football intelligence and aerial strength.

Keidean Coleman is one to watch, ready to make an impact for the Lions in 2024. He comfortably collected 21 disposals and 10 marks in the Lions’ Preliminary Final win over Carlton, and the following week in the Grand Final he had a season high 26 disposals. It was an impressive finals series, and he will look to carry that momentum into this year.

Prediction: 1st

Brisbane have been very consistent over the past five seasons, with three top-two finishes after the home and away season.

The Lions should bounce back given the depth they have in their list, and the experience the players have in finals footy. This will serve them well as they look to go one better this year.

As previously mentioned, Brisbane’s most important area to focus on is their winning record away from the Gabba. If they are able to turn that aspect of their game around and become a more consistent travelling team, along with their unbelievable home form, they will be almost unstoppable and it will be hard to bet against them this season.

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