THE NEXT month could help define Brisbane's season.
Is it a challenger to Melbourne? A top-four certainty? Or a team not going as well as its 9-2 win-loss record indicates?
After what in hindsight has been a relatively friendly draw for the first half of the season, the Lions have a testing block of matches in the next four weeks.
And they're not the only upper echelon team facing some stiff exams in what could be called 'moving month' around the competition.
Melbourne dismissed St Kilda recently, while Fremantle toppling the Demons to inflict their first loss in 18 matches threw a curveball into many premiership calculations.
Perceptions change quickly when the top teams face off.
That's why Brisbane, which has played only Geelong and Sydney in the current top eight to date, can get a terrific audit on its game in coming weeks.
The second-placed Lions play the third-placed Dockers at Optus Stadium on Sunday and then return to the Gabba six days later to face fourth-placed St Kilda.
Following the round 14 bye, they load up for a heavyweight showdown against Melbourne in a Thursday night blockbuster at the MCG.
These games come at a great time for Chris Fagan's team, which has conceded 213 points in losing to Hawthorn and overcoming a 30-point deficit to Greater Western Sydney in the past fortnight.
Hugh McCluggage (hamstring) is expected back this week, while Joe Daniher (shoulder) is not far away, giving the Lions almost a full complement of personnel to face the challenging stretch.
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Fremantle passed its huge test against the Demons and now gets to host the Lions. The Dockers also travel in round 15 to play Carlton in another tricky assignment.
Melbourne hosts Sydney at the MCG on Saturday night as it tries to avoid successive losses. It will also go into the Brisbane blockbuster fresh off the bye.
Round 15 is shaping as a beauty, with the Saints – two weeks after they travel to Brisbane – making the journey north to Sydney to face the Swans.
Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle, St Kilda and Sydney – all top-four aspirants and all facing defining stretches of the 2022 season.