Cam Rayner poses for a photo during an Opening Round media opportunity on March 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

IS THIS the season Cam Rayner plays a more prominent role in Brisbane's midfield?

On the eve of their Opening Round match against Carlton at the Gabba, Lions coach Chris Fagan has hinted the No.1 pick from the 2017 draft might be about to spend a larger chunk of minutes onball.

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Since arriving at Brisbane over six years ago, Rayner has been projected as a powerhouse midfielder that could change games.

However, with a settled rotation close to the contest, the 24-year-old has spent a majority of his 113 games playing as a medium-sized forward.

Twelve months ago he was deployed at half-back to start the season, before that plan was shelved following a match-winning four-goal haul against Collingwood on Easter Thursday.

However, with his running capacity now greatly improved, Rayner is ready for the jump.

“He's playing a bit more midfield time and we'll roll with that," Fagan said.

Cam Rayner handballs during the Brisbane intraclub match at Brighton Homes Arena on February 9, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

"He's got better endurance now. He's still not an endurance beast, but he's worked on that enormously, enough to be able to play good minutes in the midfield, which is all that's required.

"His value is his power around the stoppages and the things he can do there.

"We're really pleased with how he's developed."


Rayner was set to increase his midfield time in 2021 before rupturing his ACL in the pre-season, and has certainly been used there in small bursts the past two seasons.

"I'm not going to say I'm the best runner, but if I can bridge the gap to what it's been recently, it's something I want to work on," Rayner said.

"I feel fitter and stronger in the (pre-season) games this year than I have, so I guess that's a plus."

Cam Rayner and Chris Fagan pose for a photo during an Opening Round media opportunity on March 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Rayner will likely still spend a good chunk of time in Brisbane's potent forward 50, but with Darcy Gardiner expected to fulfill a role alongside Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood, Fagan now has more flexibility with Rayner.

"We've been trying to build a little versatility in our team," Fagan said.

"You never know in a game when you might need to flip somebody over."