BRISBANE Lions have been dealt a savage blow, with classy Irishman Pearce Hanley set to undergo hip surgery and be sidelined for 12 weeks.

The problem has only arisen since Hanley returned from his Christmas break.

The surgery is scheduled for next week and will clean up bone and cartilage in the hip.

He is expected to miss the first month of the premiership season.

The news comes just one day after Hanley was appointed to the Lions' leadership group for the first time, being named a vice-captain alongside Dayne Zorko and Daniel Rich underneath new skipper Tom Rockliff.

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The 25-year-old could have managed the problem and played through the season, but in consultation with the club, has decided to take a safer long-term approach.

"Pearce is obviously disappointed to miss the start of the season, but the sensible approach is to have the surgery now,” Lions general manager of football operations Dean Warren said. 

"We have managed to injury through recent weeks, but there is no use playing through the season and making the injury worse. 

"Pearce is key part of our team and we will miss him, but we would rather fix the problem now and make sure we get it right."

Hanley is coming off a sensational end to 2014, where he averaged 30 disposals over the final nine games.

He has been a mainstay of the Lions' midfield group over recent seasons, missing just four games in the past four years.