2022 AFL Season Preview
AFL7 Mar 2022

2022 Brisbane Lions AFL Season Preview

Another top-four finish had the Lions well-placed for premiership contention last season, only for their finals exit to follow a similar tune Chris Fagan has heard in recent seasons.

A nail-biting yet heartbreaking one-point defeat to the Bulldogs ended Brisbane’s 2021 campaign, but their journey until then was one of great promise.

New recruit Joe Daniher had a strong first season in Queensland, while the likes of Jarryd Lyons, Zac Bailey and Daniel Rich all enjoyed career-best campaigns.

Recruitment report

In: Darcy Fort, Darcy Wilmot, Kai Lohmann, James Tunstill

Out: Grant Birchall, Archie Smith, Connor Ballenden, Tom Joyce, Brock Smith, Cam Ellis-Yolmen

2021 Rankings

Clearances - 2nd

Contested Possessions - 4th

Tackles Inside 50 - 2nd

Disposals - 17th

Disposal Efficiency - 18th

Turnovers - 14th

Star player: Hugh McCluggage

The gun Lions wingman is part of a star-studded midfield ensemble at the Lions, with the three-time All-Australian squad member seen as one of the best outside ball-winners in the AFL.

McCluggage averaged career-high numbers for possessions, tackles, rebound 50s, inside 50s and clearances in 2021 and will contend for the nod as the Lions’ most lethal midfielder this year.

While Neale and Lyons are sure to demand the ball on the inside, they’ll be buoyed by the constant outlet McCluggage can offer from the wing.

One to watch: Cam Rayner

Making his return from a season-ending ACL injury, all eyes are on the former No.1 pick in 2022.

Tipped to make a move into the midfield, Rayner could be preparing for a breakout campaign as he sets his sights on a more senior role under Chris Fagan. Should the Lions finally see the potential Rayner has been touted to have, the emerging star could be a catalyst in Brisbane’s run for a premiership.

Under pressure: Rhys Mathieson

A self-claimed ‘barometer’ for Brisbane, Mathieson will be out to prove his worth under Chris Fagan this season.

The explosive onballer played 15 games last season, however seven of which came as a medical sub as Mathieson looked to cement his place in the best 22.

With further emerging names looking to stake their claim this season, the pressure is growing on Mathieson to deliver what has been promised.

2022 Exceptiations

The Lions will be among the top competing sides this year, with star talent littered across all three lines of their side.

After three straight seasons of high finishes, much of the same can be expected for the year ahead at Brisbane.

Entering the new season with perhaps a stronger list than yesteryear, the Lions could finally shake the shackles and land a grand final berth in 2022. Whether they can go the whole way is another matter however.

Five matches to watch

Round 4 vs. Geelong, GMHBA Stadium, Friday April 8

Round 6 vs. Gold Coast, Metricon Stadium, Sunday April 24

Round 14 vs. Melbourne, MCG, TBC

Round 15 vs. Western Bulldogs, Gabba, TBC

Round 18 vs. Gold Coast, Gabba, TBC

All time games

  1. Simon Black - 322
  2. Luke Power - 282
  3. Jonathan Brown - 256
  4. Daniel Rich - 246
  5. Daniel Bradshaw - 219

All time goals

  1. Jonathan Brown - 594
  2. Daniel Bradhsaw - 496
  3. Alastair Lynch - 371
  4. Jason Akermanis - 263
  5. Luke Power - 141

2021 Stats

MOST DISPOSALS: Jarryd Lyons - 674

MOST TACKLES: Jarryd Lyons - 154

MOST CLEARANCES: Jarryd Lyons - 149

MOST MARKS: Harris Andrews - 181

MOST GOALS: Charlie Cameron - 55