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Opinion

The order of merit: Brisbane Lions 2021 season

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Roar Guru
7th February, 2021
15

Who are the Lions players that should play to their optimum level in season 2021?

To be eligible for selection a player must have played at least five games in season 2020, so there can be a reference point as far as those players who apply their talent the best at AFL level.

Here are the ten players (plus an honourable mention) who will stand out from the pack in season 2021 in terms of performing to their optimum level.

Honourable mention
Dayne Zorko had an average season in 2020. He finished fifth in the Brisbane Lions’ best and fairest and averaged the sixth most disposals of any Brisbane Lions player. He will want to kick more than nine goals in season 2021. He leads by example, but has to improve in season 2021 if he is to be regarded more highly.

10. Joe Daniher
Daniher is a player that has moved clubs from the Essendon Bombers to the Brisbane Lions and should benefit from the change. Hopefully he has better luck with injury. Expect him to help out Oscar McInerney as their second ruckman. It should make Daniher play more instinctively and take his mind off his lack of luck, with regards to injury. He is tenth, because he will be reluctant to try too hard and stay injury free.

Joe Daniher

(Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

9. Mitch Robinson
Robinson is a player that predominantly plays to his optimum level. He is however coming towards the end of his career. He must not lose heart, but the fact is he will find it difficult to play at the level he is capable of playing at, due to not being up to standard.

8. Charlie Cameron
Cameron always endeavours to keep the Brisbane Lions in the game on the scoreboard. He is a cult hero for the Brisbane Lions. The fact is that he can get better as he only finished ninth in the Brisbane Lions’ best and fairest in season 2020. He needs to put more effort in when he plays in season 2021.

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7. Daniel Rich
He averaged the fifth most disposals of any Brisbane Lions player in season 2020, with an average of 17.07 disposals. He featured in 15 of the 19 games that the Lions played. Despite that, he would be disappointed he finished outside of the top ten in the Lions’ best and fairest in season 2020. He is a player who is past the prime of his career. He needs to stay injury free to play to his optimum level that he is capable of playing at.

6. Eric Hipwood
He never shirks a contest. He averaged the second most goals of any Brisbane Lions player in season 2020, with an average of 1.26 goals per game.

Eric Hipwood Brisbane Lions AFL 2017

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

He is a player that’s pivotal to the structure of the Brisbane Lions. He featured in every game in season 2020 and finished tenth in the Lions’ best and fairest. He will benefit from Joe Daniher being in the team. Daniher’s presence in the forward line will take the pressure off Hipwood. He needs to be better and hit the scoreboard more.

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5. Jarryd Lyons
He featured in every match for the Brisbane Lions in season 2020. He averaged the second most disposals in that season and finished second in the Lions’ best and fairest. There’s scope for growth for Lyons. He kicked just four goals in season 2020 and will want to improve on that in season 2021 in order to add another string to his bow.

4. Hugh McCluggage
He should want to finish in the All Australian squad of 40 in season 2021 for the second year in a row. If he is to play to his potential he should be aiming for a spot on the wing in the All Australian team in season 2021. He will want to kick more goals than he did in season 2020, when he finished with eight goals in 19 games. He averaged with the fourth most disposals in season 2020, behind Alex Witherden, who played just six games in season 2020. McCluggage can improve slightly in season 2021 and become referred to as an elite player.

3. Lachie Neale
He will be looking to replicate the season he had in 2020 and win another Brownlow Medal. At times the manner in which he plays the game looks effortless. He will want to improve on his average of 3.1 tackles per game in season 2020. He will also want to kick more goals in season 2021, as he averaged 0.7 goals per game in 2021.

Lachie Neale

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

2. Harris Andrews
He would fit into any defence in the competition. He thoroughly deserved being named as the All Australian fullback in season 2020. He would want to improve on his average of 10.69 disposals per game, which he recorded in season 2020. He needs to win more of the ball and continue to take intercept marks. The only improvement that he could make would be to average more disposals in season 2021.

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1. Oscar McInerney
McInerney is a player that’s going to be instrumental if the Brisbane Lions are to play finals and obtain success in season 2021. He will be the number one ruckman, as Stefan Martin has been traded to the Western Bulldogs. Despite not being the most gifted player, McInerney makes the most of his talent, based on finishing fourth in the Brisbane Lions’ best and fairest and featuring in every game in season 2020.