IF THERE'S one Lion that knows the intricacies of Geelong's biggest names, it's contested bull Jarryd Lyons.
Lyons has the distinction of being the only current player – not playing for the Cats – to be teammates with Brownlow medalists Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett through their distinguished careers.
Long-retired Nathan Bock also fell into that category.
Lyons spent four seasons alongside Dangerfield at Adelaide (2012-15), and then played alongside Ablett at Gold Coast in 2017.
Now, the 28-year-old will line up against the pair in the biggest game of his career on Saturday night when Brisbane hosts Geelong in a preliminary final at the Gabba.
"I love playing against 'Gaz' and 'Danger', it's good fun," Lyons told AFL.com.au.
"They're the best players, and to be the best you've got to beat the best, so it's going to be a great challenge."
Dangerfield now splits time between the midfield and forward line, and Ablett is almost exclusively a half-forward, but Lyons was able to pick the brains of two of the game's modern greats on their midfield craft in his younger years.
As Dangerfield flourished at the Crows, Lyons was making his way towards becoming a consistent senior player, a status that was well established by the time he met Ablett.
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"'Danger' is a professional person on and off the field," Lyons said.
"He's been massive for the game itself. He's hardly missed a beat over 10 years.
"He's playing some great footy and it's up to us to shut him down. As a midfield group it's not just going to be one bloke, but the whole group.
"And 'Gaz', I actually got on really well with him and learnt a lot from him that year. He's a special player.
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"He does everything right to get himself on the park. His body has let him down a bit, but I think he's got everything out of it. It is exciting.
"They're great people off the field but once we walk over that line it's a different story."
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Lyons is part of a terrific Brisbane midfield.
Although Lachie Neale is its centerpiece, Lyons is every bit as crucial, ranking top-10 in the competition for clearances and contested possessions, and has an ability to go forward for a few minutes each quarter when Cam Rayner goes on-ball.
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There's captain Dayne Zorko and Zac Bailey to offer speed, Jarrod Berry for the grunt, Hugh McCluggage for the skill, and Rayner and Linc McCarthy for an explosive change.
"We've always had the mantra that it's not going to be one bloke that wins us the game," Lyons said.
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"It's very much a role midfield and we don't need blokes having 30 (disposals) every game to get the job done. We just need blokes playing hard, tough footy and we'll back ourselves in from there.
"Geelong are an all-round solid side and have been for the last 10 to 20 years, they hardly miss. They've played great footy through the whole year.
"Last year, although it was a great experience, was disappointing. To back it up after a lot of people didn't think we would, it is really humbling as well as exciting and as a group I think we're as ready as we'll ever be."