BRISBANE will inject more speed into its midfield this season as it looks to take another step towards a premiership.
Cam Rayner, Zac Bailey, Lincoln McCarthy and Charlie Cameron will all see more time around the contest as Lions coach Chris Fagan tinkers with his high-performing midfield unit.
All four are explosive and agile, capable of taking ground away from the contest with their speed.
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Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and his trusty offsider Jarryd Lyons form one of the best one-two ball-winning punches in the AFL, but speaking to AFL.com.au, Fagan said his team needed to continue adding variety.
"I feel like we've got plenty of options, we just need to work out how we share the workload and keep power and run in our midfield, which I think is really critical to any AFL team," Fagan said.
Entering their fourth seasons, Rayner and Bailey have taken noticeable jumps.
Bailey is not dissimilar to his captain Dayne Zorko, able to weave in-and-out of traffic without losing speed.
He has played a variety of roles in his 46 games, shifting from half-forward, to half-back to wing.
Cameron is an All-Australian small forward, and the Lions' leading goalkicker the past two seasons, while McCarthy is a fearless brute that has shown in small glimpses he can handle midfield minutes.
Rayner is perhaps the most intriguing, noticeably fitter and able to get to more contests during the pre-season.
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"As a No.1 draft pick I don't think he ever worried about defence because he just beat everyone else, so that's what he did," Fagan said.
"He's had to learn that and to his credit he has. Is he perfect at it? No. But is any player in the AFL perfect at defence? No, unless you're a deadset lock-on tagger.
"In our practice games he's played more midfield than forward.
"He has tremendous impact around stoppages and he's a great tackle breaker. I think he's just maturing and learning more about himself every day.
"Probably copped a bit of heat from everybody because he was the first pick and played as a forward, but for us, he's always done his role pretty well.
"The exciting part is if he's going to blossom into more of a midfielder."
With quarters reverting to 20 minutes and rotations dipping to 75 in 2021, coaches will have to get creative with how they rest midfielders.
As part of Brisbane's shuffle of bodies, Neale could spend small portions of games in the back-half.
Fagan said his champion midfielder still had areas for improvement despite his majestic 2020.
"His kicking improved last year but I still think that can go another level," Fagan said.
"His ability to go in one or two other positions so we can be a little less predictable with him, would be another way he could improve.
"I think his leadership and ability to coach on-field is a growth area. It's not that he doesn't do it, he does it, I just think he's got another level to go to with that.
"I can't see why he can't become a Luke Hodge-type out on the field over the next few years. He certainly has the knowledge of the game to do that and the organisational skills and respect of his teammates."