Oscar McInerney competes against Max Gawn during Brisbane's win over Melbourne in round 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ALREADY on a four-game winning streak, Brisbane has plenty of room to improve, says ruckman Oscar McInerney.

The Lions were able to overturn a three-quarter time deficit against Melbourne last Friday night to move into the top eight for the first time this season, continuing a surge back into premiership contention.

With Will Ashcroft making a successful return from knee surgery against the Demons, and key defender Jack Payne expected back for Sunday's match against Adelaide, the pieces appear to be falling into place.

However, McInerney says the Lions are far from satisfied with their current form.

"The exciting thing is each week we review the game there's plenty to work on," he said.

"I think the best teams in the competition defend really well, so why not chase those teams that do that well and try and be a really good defensive team to complement our offence?"


Brisbane conceded eight goals in the second quarter against the Demons, just a fortnight after giving up seven in a quarter to St Kilda.

They won both matches and are still ranked fourth in the AFL for points conceded, but McInerney says it's an area for growth.

Payne, an integral member of the Lions' defensive unit, missed the victory over Melbourne with foot soreness, and ran without any obvious discomfort on Tuesday.

He will need to get through Thursday's main session, but is a good chance to return against the Crows.

Jack Payne in action during Brisbane's clash with Hawthorn in round 11, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

McInerney said overturning a deficit against the Dees was a confidence boost for the surging Lions.

"It's great to expose ourselves to new situations. We haven't been exposed to that (trailing) too often in the last six or seven years," he said.

"One pleasing thing was that our young players really stepped up. Brucey Reville's fourth quarter was incredible, Jaspa (Fletcher) came on as a sub and lit the game up, Darcy Wilmot is so young still but feels like he's been around forever.

"They're having really big moments in really big quarters and that's exciting for our group."