This is a huge year for Brisbane.
Given the finals brand of football it has been playing for the last three seasons, a premiership cup may just be beckoning for Chris Fagan and his men.
The chaos of 2020 sparked the perfect opportunity for Brisbane to go all the way with the majority of games being played in Queensland.
A preliminary final loss against Geelong at the Gabba that season was followed up by failing straight sets last season.
But the Lions had excuses during a disappointing end to what was another strong home and away season.
A season-ending knee injury to gun forward Eric Hipwood and a serious concussion to key-position player Daniel McStay proved to be the Lions’ undoing.
Heading into 2022, Brisbane will regain Cameron Rayner from an ACL.
Rayner’s x-factor and brilliance with ball-in-hand was sorely missed throughout 2021.
Joe Daniher finally had an injury-free season for the first time in five years and managed 46 goals from 24 games.
There is every chance he can use that year as a big platform to getting back to his absolute best, which endears him as one of the best big men in the competition.
Hugh McCluggage and Zac Bailey were phenomenal for the Lions through 2021 and the scary thing is, given their youth, they will only develop into better footballers.
Both players carried a big weight of the midfield and will have learnt plenty from their losses to Melbourne and Western Bulldogs during the finals.
Lachie Neale will continue to rack up disposal after disposals as he leads the Lions midfield alongside McCluggage.
The Lions rank as the third best clearance team in the league from a pure numbers point of view having averaged 31.8 per game.
As coaches often state; the territory battle in AFL is key to winning games.
Those clearance numbers make Brisbane a nuisance to deal with every week.
The knock on the Lions is the ability to make the most of those clearances and the territory battle.
Brisbane ranked second last for goal efficiency in the league last season and third last for disposal efficiency.
Cleaning up that ball movement and being a lot more accurate in front of goal is something Fagan needs to prioritise coming into 2022.
It is what separates Brisbane from being a good team compared to a great team.
Defensively, Marcus Adams and Harris Andrews have been rocks.
Adams missed a large chunk of last year with a stress fracture in his foot.
With a full pre-season under his belt and getting back to full fitness, you can expect the Lions to be much down back as well.
Turning the Gabba into a fortress is exactly what Brisbane needs to do in order to remain up the top flight of the ladder.