BROWNLOW medallist Lachie Neale has boarded Brisbane's plane to Sydney in preparation for Friday night's showdown with ladder leaders Melbourne.

Neale has missed the past five matches following ankle surgery and now just needs to get through Thursday afternoon's final training run to be available for selection.

Reliable defender Ryan Lester (hamstring) has joined him in the Lions' extended travelling party.

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Lions pair go down in first quarter

Darcy Gardiner has been subbed out early with concussion while Lachie Neale suffered a potential ankle injury, both in the opening term

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Coach Chris Fagan said the decision on Neale and Lester would come down solely to the medical department.

"I always take those decisions out of my hands because I think that's the best thing to do," Fagan said.

"They're the experts and I listen to them. I've got no reason not to, they've been really good over the last four years."

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Brisbane has a bye following its match against the Demons, but Fagan says that will have no bearing on whether either player is considered.

The Lions have won seven matches in succession, including five in Neale's absence.

A return for the star onballer would likely result in an unlucky omission for either Deven Robertson or Rhys Mathieson, who have both been crucial in the recent run.

Fagan said he was just as excited about the possible inclusion of Lester to bolster his team's tall defensive stocks.

"We were a little bit nervous the last few weeks without the talls, but we've defended well as a team," Fagan said.

"They do have some good, in-form tall forwards in (Tom) McDonald, (Luke) Jackson and (Sam) Weideman and whether they pick Ben Brown or not I'm not sure.

"They've got plenty of artillery to put up there, so it's good to have Ryan hopefully available again."

Fagan said Brisbane was ready for Melbourne's challenge, a team he described as the benchmark of the competition.

"Tomorrow night is one point in time," he said.

"Finals, if we get there, are in September, which is three months away.

"It's good to have that challenge right now for our group, I think we're ready for it.

"It doesn't matter which way it goes, it's all good as far as I'm concerned because you learn from the experiences."