Brisbane Lions forward Jonathan Brown has circled the club’s round one date with Hawthorn as he works to overcome a foot injury.

Brisbane key forward Jonathan Brown has drawn a line through the AFL pre-season competition and pinpointed a round one return as he battles his latest injury.

The 245-game veteran added just 15 games to his tally last year but still managed to pick up the Lions’ goalkicking award with 28 goals.

Despite issues with overcoming a foot injury that have restricted his pre-season and ruled out any practice matches, Brown was confident he could make it back for the start of the home and away campaign.

“I’ve had a couple of weeks of build-up running and hopefully I’ll get back with the squad in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard to fit a practice match in – so I’ll aim to be ready for round one and hopefully I can get myself ready for selection.”

Brown foreshadowed a young side heading south for the club’s first match under new coach Justin Leppitsch, a NAB Challenge encounter against Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

With the Coleman medallist out of contention for the pre-season, Lions fans will get a glimpse of the club’s future forward line, including another Jonathan.

Jonathan Freeman, Michael Close and Marco Paparone were named as emerging players under Brown’s tutelage to watch through the pre-season matches.

“I’ve been working very closely with them so I’ve got a keen interest to see how the boys go,” he said.

“I’d love them to be able to take over that forward line down the track.

“They’ve had a really good pre-season. They’re willing to learn and listen to everything we’ve got to say.”

Brown also gave special attention to two young midfielders.

“No doubt our midfield depth has improved – headlined by guys like Sam Mayes and young James Aish,” he said.

“It’s very exciting. Next week against Hawthorn I think you’ll see a lot of the young talent play.”

The Lions will also take on the Hawks in round one of the home and away season on March 22 in Launceston.