SYDNEY Swans defender Jeremy Laidler says the pain of being dropped for last year's finals series is the driving force behind his best season of footy.

The 25 year-old came to the Swans at the end of the 2013 season and found a spot in the club's defence immediately, playing 19 of the first 21 games last season. 

But the left-footer was dropped after the Swan's round 22 win over the Western Bulldogs, and had to watch from the stands as the side progressed to the Grand Final. 

Laidler, who played just 26 games across five seasons with Geelong and Carlton before his move to the Swans, says the role of frustrated onlooker pushed him to raise his game to another level. 

"That's the main goal. We all want to play at that time of year, I was a bit disappointed to miss out, and that was a big driver for me this year, I didn't want that to happen again," Laidler said on Friday.

"I had to work on a few things over the pre-season which I've done, and now I've slowly been cementing my spot in the side. 

"Confidence is massive in footy I reckon, and to have the belief of the players and coaches around you and not have question marks on whether you're going to play in the ressies or the AFL, it gives you a lot of belief. 

"I'm really enjoying my footy up here and couldn't ask for anything more." 

The Swans welcome back two pretty handy players for their clash with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Sunday, with star forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett returning from suspension. 

The Lions have made three big changes to the line-up that gave Fremantle a scare in Perth last week, with skipper Tom Rockliff leading the list of inclusions, along with key defender Daniel Merrett and classy Irishman Pearce Hanley.

Laidler says Rockliff is more than just a quality midfielder for the Lions.

"It's something they thrive off they need that leadership, he really drives them and if he's up and going they play well," Laidler said. 

"We can't let him off the chain, he's a quality player, like the other two that have come in."

The bottom-placed Lions might not look like much of a challenge to the Swans on paper, especially with the pair of big guns up forward, but Laidler rubbished any suggestions that the home side would be an easy kill. 

"They've had a couple of good weeks, they've narrowly lost in the last quarter, and we've got to be on our game and be wary of them for sure," Laidler said.

"We take every week the same, we'll take the same mindset we did last week, it's going to be a solid hit out and they'll come out firing."