Brisbane have the massive task of taking on reigning premiers Hawthorn in their AFL opening round clash in Launceston.
New Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch will do well to prevent their AFL season opener becoming a case of Lions to the slaughter.
No-one outside Brisbane will give them any chance of beating reigning premiers Hawthorn on March 22 in Launceston.
It is a potential mismatch amid some intriguing clashes in the opening round, which starts this Friday night when Collingwood host grand finalists and premiership fancies Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.
Hawthorn opened their pre-season last month with a 131-point hiding of Brisbane.
In their defence, the Lions then were well below full strength.
It is more the results from Saturday’s last round of practice matches that raise concerns about what the Hawks might do to Brisbane this time.
Hawthorn were ruthless at Casey Fields, tearing Melbourne apart by 110 points and laying bare the long-term task facing new Demons coach Paul Roos.
Apart from Ben Stratton’s ongoing hamstring injury and a centre-bounce incident that might mean Jordan Lewis attracts match review panel scrutiny, the Hawks’ machine is humming.
They have been determined to avoid the disastrous 2009 premiership hangover, when they were riddled with injuries through the pre-season and finished outside the finals.
That means the Brisbane will run into a probable top-four side that is nearly at full strength and has a mindset to match.
In between the Lions and Demons, the Hawks also took care of top-eight contenders North Melbourne by 65 points.
While the Hawks were tap-dancing over the Demons, the Lions had a 27-point loss to top-four regulars Sydney at Burpengary, near Brisbane.
This followed Brisbane’s encouraging 47-point win over Gold Coast.
Leppitsch came out of the Swans loss admitting he had plenty to ponder about their forward setup and also how their defensive structure.
Former captain Jonathan Brown made his comeback from a foot injury against Sydney, but he only had two disposals in a half.
Leppitsch admitted Brown is no guarantee to play in Launceston.
“We will have a big discussion on whether he is ready for that (season opener) or one or two (weeks) after – we just have to do the right thing for his body,” Leppitsch said.
Claye Beams also suffered a foot injury in the match.