IN THE space of 24 hours, the Brisbane Lions' chances of being competitive in round one have taken a massive hit, but skipper Tom Rockliff is putting on a brave face.
The Lions were always going to start the opening weekend against West Coast in Perth as huge underdogs, but the task became almost insurmountable since Sunday.
The bad news started when coach Justin Leppitsch confirmed ace midfielder Dayne Beams would be out indefinitely with knee tendinitis.
This comes on the back of an already disrupted pre-season in which the Lions missed one match against St Kilda that was washed out.
Rockliff (hamstring), Allen Christensen (finger) and Josh Green (foot) will also go in against the Eagles without an NAB Challenge game under their belt.
Despite the hurdles, Rockliff was playing a straight bat at the announcement that Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat cricket star Chris Lynn was the Lions' latest ambassador.
"Anyone would love to have their best 22 out there round one, but that's the cards we're dealt," Rockliff said.
"We've got a pretty fit squad bar a couple, we'll have 40-plus to pick from for round one.
"It's a pretty good place for the footy club to be in, especially after our injury troubles the last couple of years. We're excited and can't wait."
Rockliff admitted that it hurt losing Beams, a joint best and fairest winner last year, but it was something they could overcome.
He said the off-season additions of Ryan Bastinac and Tom Bell would help in the middle of the ground.
"I'm fine. I could have played (on Sunday) if it was round one," Rockliff said.
"Greeny trained this morning and trained well.
"Bundy (Christensen) is the same. He hasn't missed a beat. He had finger surgery but has done all the running.
"The midfield depth is quite strong. If we can get everyone out there we might surprise a few along the way."