Pride of Lions pushing for AFL opener

Lions captain Dayne Zorko is excited by the improved depth at the AFL club.
Lions captain Dayne Zorko is excited by the improved depth at the AFL club.

Brisbane's strength in depth has Lions captain Dayne Zorko excited heading into the 2019 AFL season.

Zorko believes there are 30 players pushing to be a part of the Lions' 22 for Saturday's round one clash with premiers West Coast at the Gabba.

As he enters his eighth campaign with the Lions, the 30-year-old midfielder believes the additions of recruits such as Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Lincoln McCarthy has motivated many at the club to up their game and create a selection headache for coach Chris Fagan.

"We haven't had this since I've been at the club," Zorko said.

"I've been here for eight years now and there's probably 25 players that you could probably say could put their hand up and play round one, this year there's upwards of 30.

"Which is a really healthy sign for our football club. That competition drives success and it's certainly what we're chasing."

The recruitment of ex-Docker Neale, former Cat McCarthy and ex-Sun Lyons should ease the burden on Zorko to carry the Lions midfield and make him less of a target for opposition taggers.

But if rivals do still want to target Zorko, he's happy to take the heat.

"If the attention comes to me, that's great," he said.

"I've got Jarryd Lyons and Lachie Neale, Jarrod Berry, Hugh McLuggage that can all - we've seen in the pre-season - accumulate the ball which is probably something that we haven't had for a while."

Under Fagan's guidance in 2019 Brisbane are hotly tipped to rise from their recent woes, with some even believing they could secure a first finals spot since 2009.

Fagan has heard that talk but he's more circumspect about what his side can achieve.

"I've been asked the question if you don't make finals this year will the year be considered a failure?," Fagan said.

"That means we've got to jump from five wins to 13 and if any business improves 160 per cent in one year that's a pretty good business.

"I'm not sure we can improve that much. We'll certainly aim to ... we'll enjoy the process of getting closer to that. We think we can but it will take a little bit of luck."

Australian Associated Press