FOUR-time premiership Hawk Grant Birchall started life as a Lion on Monday, jogging laps at Brisbane's Yeronga training facility.
After 14 years and 248 games under Alastair Clarkson's guidance, it was the first time Birchall had trained in anything but Hawthorn colours.
While most of the squad – a couple of senior players are due back next week – completed a mix of running and skills in 28-degree heat, Birchall ran laps with performance coach Selwyn Griffith.
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Birchall is coming off a hamstring injury suffered against North Melbourne in round 21, and persistent knee and calf problems have restricted him to just eight games in the past three years.
But the 31-year-old is confident he can contribute to a Lions team that reached a semi-final last season.
"It's been a pretty tough few years with my body, so I thought a fresh start up here would do me the world of good," Birchall said.
"I'm sure the body will appreciate the warmer weather.
"I feel as though I can still play at the level. I think I proved that with the couple of games I played last year.
"I just need to get the work in and have full faith in the guys here."
He didn't have to look far to get confidence in the Lions' set-up.
Two years ago it was long-time teammate Luke Hodge that headed north at the age of 33 to prolong his career, and he did so in grand fashion.
Hodge played 41 games in the past two seasons, including two terrific finals in 2019, before retiring.
Hodge is now a part-time mentoring coach with Brisbane and was kicking the ball to Birchall after he completed his running on Monday.
"Hodgey told me a few things and both him and Fages filled me in on what's going on and I'm more than happy to join and get started," Birchall said.
The Lions will take a conservative approach with the rebounding defender, not expecting him to train hard until well after Christmas.
They've had success with Hodge and former Geelong half-forward Lincoln McCarthy using similar methods in recent seasons.