Brisbane ruckman Matthew Leuenberger believes the harsh AFL punditry has short memories, forgetting the Lions’ surge that had them on the cusp of last year’s top eight.
Brisbane finished with seven wins from their last 11 matches, a record which Leuenberger feels has been undervalued and overlooked heading into 2014 under new coach Justin Leppitsch.
Former Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd has led the knockers by claiming the Lions are in for a “world of pain”.
Looking forward to a round one acid test against defending premiers Hawthorn in Launceston, Leuenberger maintains Brisbane will feed off their 2013 momentum to again be a top-eight contender.
“We just finished outside the eight ultimately and the back half of the year last year was quite impressive,” he said on Monday.
“And we’ve added some really good talent in the likes of Trent West and Luke McGuane so I’d like to think we’re going to surprise a few people.
“When we play our best footy we’re quietly confident we can challenge the best sides.
“It (criticism) is probably not such a bad thing to have because you might catch some sides off guard.”
Brisbane do face arguably the toughest opening fortnight of the season with clashes against the Hawks and Geelong but the club is energised to keep the upsets rolling after the GWS Giants and Gold Coast scored round one boilovers.
“I don’t think too many were expecting that,” Leuenberger said. “I think it’s going to be a really competitive year this year.
“I can think of 12 to 14 sides that are going to contend for the top eight.”
Leuenberger is buoyed by the recruitment of former Cats ruckman West, believing the ability to tag team as a ruck duo will be a major asset for the club.
“For me personally, playing against two ruckmen is a lot harder than just against one,” he said. “So I’d like to think the two of us will work over opponents a lot better than if it was just me one-out.”