WITH competition for spots expected to be fierce in 2015, a number of Brisbane Lions have returned to pre-season training early.
Captain Jed Adcock, best and fairest runner-up Dayne Zorko, Brent Staker, Rohan Bewick, Mitch Golby and Luke McGuane all trained with their younger teammates at Yeronga in the Brisbane heat on Monday morning.
They were not due to return until next Monday.
After winning seven games under rookie coach Justin Leppitsch last season, the Lions bolstered their list significantly in the off-season, adding Dayne Beams, Allen Christensen and Mitch Robinson.
"It's going to be a competitive pre-season," midfielder Sam Mayes said.
"Even in the running out there, you see guys around your position and think 'shit, I've got to beat these blokes'.
"It's going to be the blokes that put in the most work and the blokes that are in form that get the spots."'
The young Lions mean business, with a group of 15 players beginning training together three weeks before they were due back at the club.
Mayes found life more difficult in his second season, as Leppitsch played him all over the ground, and said he would have to work even harder to win his coveted midfield/half-forward position.
The 20-year-old said the younger players should lead the way at training.
"It's up to us to lift the standards and drive the standards from the bottom up," he said.
"We know the senior boys will hold their own, it's up to us younger players to lift the standard as well."
Mayes was speaking at a post-training press conference to launch the Lions' clash guernsey for next season.
The guernsey is predominantly white, in line with AFL specifications, and pairs the 'Y' of Fitzroy’s inaugural jumper with the lion that fronted the jumper worn by the premiership teams of 2001-2003.