HARRIS Andrews and Marcus Adams are Brisbane's yin and yang, their contrasting styles forming one of the competition's best key defensive pairings early in 2022.

Adams is the AFL's leading intercept defender through five rounds, marking the ball from opposition kicks 24 times.

Yet he does so much more for the Lions.

Adams' 192cm body is as hard as granite, able to skilfully combine wrestling the game's strongest power forwards with winning the ball back for his team.

Marcus Adams ignores a Mitch Duncan tackle, Geelong v Brisbane, R4, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

He's a deep thinker with a quiet, no-fuss approach that has finally got some continuity with his body after so many years of struggles.

Then there's Andrews, the 202cm vice-captain, the backline leader with a voice that resonates around Brisbane's defensive 50.

He has the seemingly endless arms that can spoil from almost any position and a hunger matched by few in his team.

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After a strong 2021, yet slightly down on the lofty heights of his previous two Therabody AFL All-Australian campaigns, Andrews confessed he needed to address some shortcomings in his game.

"I need to be better as a footballer and teammate," he said during the pre-season.

"It's just finding that balance between stopping my opponent and looking to help out guys elsewhere."

Heading into Sunday's match against Queensland rivals Gold Coast, Andrews has largely struck that balance in 2022.

Harris Andrews leads the Brisbane side out for the 2022 AAMI Community Series game against the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

He has competed in more contested defensive one-on-ones (30) than anyone else in the League, and his success rate in those battles is only bettered by Suns' vice-captain Sam Collins among the top-10 in that category.

Andrews told AFL.com.au he was pleased – so far.

"I've been OK," he said. "I feel like I've played my role for the team, which is super important.

"It's been great having Marcus up and flying, he's done such a great job of winning the ball back for us. I feel like I'm contributing alright without setting world on fire.

"We're winning football games and that's what we're chasing."

Andrews has been resilient throughout his 141-game career, and with Adams playing 22 of the past 27 games, the duo are finally getting a chance to gel alongside reliable Darcy Gardiner.

"Marcus is extremely influential," Andrews said.

"His ability to play on really dangerous key forwards and win his own ball in 50-50 contests is massive for us.

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"It's great to see someone who puts so much work into their body get so much reward for effort now.

"It's incredible what he can do. He reads the ball off the boot so well and is so strong in the contest. He can hold his opponent out and then come back to win the ball.

"It makes our jobs so much easier, myself, and even the half-backs and small defenders."

Andrews said there was still room to improve though, both between himself and Adams and the reshaped Lions backline that has accommodated skipper Dayne Zorko and Noah Answerth this season.

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They have the versatility to swap between key opponents, like Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron against Geelong or Nick Larkey and Todd Goldstein against North Melbourne.

"It does help you game-to-game having awareness of what each others' strengths are. We're still working through that," he said.

"We've found ourselves a few times both in good positions to mark, looking at each other and hesitating – we're still working on that synergy.

"There's a lot of area for growth."

The next opportunity comes at Metricon Stadium, where Levi Casboult and Mabior Chol – providing he passes a fitness test – await.

Harris Andrews of Brisbane remonstrates with Gold Coast players Izak Rankine and Ben Ainsworth in R9, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Both are new to the Suns and have kicked 19 goals between them so far, forming an excellent combination of their own after Ben King's season-ending knee injury.

Andrews and Chol were Queensland under-18 teammates in 2014.

"'Mabs' is a quality footballer. He's got a great ability to launch at the football, he's got great athleticism with speed and is good with his ground work and follow up

"He's come on leaps and bounds since we played together in the under-18s.

"He used to roll into training with a bit of swagger and plays that way. He's a great forward and it's been awesome to see him go to the Suns and get a bit of opportunity to show what he can really do.

"It's going to be a really great challenge against them."