Jonathan Brown has been welcomed back by Brisbane for his first official hitout of 2014 – Saturday’s AFL practice match against Sydney.

The stage has been set for a blockbuster battle, with Brisbane welcoming Jonathan Brown back for his first official hitout of 2014 – Saturday’s AFL practice match against Lance Franklin’s Sydney.

Back from a serious foot injury that prematurely ended his 2013 campaign, Brown will officially kick-start the countdown to his 15th AFL season when he runs out against the Swans at Burpengary, north of Brisbane.

The three-time premiership forward spent the off-season mulling over his future after his 2013 campaign was cut short in August.

But the 32-year-old re-signed for another year under new coach Justin Leppitsch and finally emerged from months of rehab when he showed encouraging signs with two goals in an intra-club cameo last week.

Brown – who has played 245 games and kicked 573 goals with the Lions – features in a 27-strong squad that also includes Daniel Merrett, Matthew Leuenberger, Jed Adcock, Daniel Rich, Pearce Hanley and Claye Beams.

They will run out against a Sydney side boasting the likes of Franklin, who managed just one point and six touches on debut last week against West Coast.

Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn, Ted Richards and Tom Mitchell have been named by Sydney after missing the game against the Eagles.