Jed Adcock's Lions will come to Melbourne as favourites to beat the Bulldogs
THE Brisbane Lions are adamant the loss of Western Bulldogs skipper Matthew Boyd through injury won't distract their focus ahead of Saturday's season opener at Etihad Stadium.
For one of the rare times in Michael Voss's five years as Lions coach, his team will travel to Melbourne with the tag of favourites hanging over their head.
Fresh from winning the NAB Cup on the same ground less than two weeks ago, Lions' co-captain Jed Adcock said they would embrace the added pressure.
He said Boyd's withdrawal with a calf injury would have no bearing on their preparation.
"Boyd is a loss to them, he's the captain of the footy club, but they've got a lot of good players still," Adcock said.
"They are a younger team, but … we can't focus on that, we've got to focus on our own game and what we want to do to beat them. If we get caught up in all that, they'll probably come out and jump us early."
Midfield coach Shane Woewodin weighed in, saying while losing the "heartbeat" of their club would be a loss to the Bulldogs, he expected others to fill the breach, including mature-age recruits like Nick Lower, Tom Young, Koby Stevens and Brett Goodes
"Listening to Macca (Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney) yesterday, they've got some quality players and added some depth through their midfield who can come in and replace him," Woewodin said.
"It helps when quality players aren't there but we can't get caught up in that. We know we'll be tested in that area of the ground.
"They've got some quality players other than Boyd so we certainly have to be on our toes."
The Lions easily won both meetings between the teams last year by 58 and 67 points respectively.
Adcock said it was imperative to take momentum from the NAB Cup into the season proper.
"The past few years we've got off to really slow starts and it's really hard to come back from that, it puts you behind the eight ball," he said.
"For us, the first five weeks is really important to make sure we get off to a good start and it begins with round one."
Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger trained at Coorparoo on Wednesday morning but is likely to play reserves this weekend as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury.
Jed Adcock is a defender in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 81 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.
Michael Whiting covers Brisbane Lions news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting