THE BRISBANE Lions are hoping a smaller forward line can kick winning scores this season, with both captain and coach putting the onus on a talented midfield to have an impact on the scoreboard.
With the retirement of Jonathan Brown midway through last season, the Lions have no obvious go-to target in their forward 50.
They'll be looking for a combination of improvement from young key position prospects, some help from a couple of older heads, and a big impact from the small forwards and a midfield brimming with talent.
Last season's attacking statistics made grim reading for the Lions, with an inexperienced outfit plagued by injuries to many of its classier players.
The Lions were ranked last for marks inside 50, 16th for points scored and 15th for goals once inside forward 50.
Coach Justin Leppitsch said third-year tall Michael Close was a good long-term prospect and would continue to get games, while experienced campaigners Brent Staker and Luke McGuane - who combined for a total of two games last season due to injury - would vie for a spot to add a steadying influence.
There's also exciting second-year prospect Daniel McStay, Jonathan Freeman and Jackson Paine waiting in the wings, but Leppitsch said the burgeoning midfield would have to step up.
"We've got a few goalkicking mids now with (Dayne) Beams and (Allen) Christensen coming into the team," Leppitsch said.
"We've worked a fair bit on our kicks inside 50 as well this year. It was a bit of an area that broke down towards the back half of the year.
"(We're) still a young team, still jelling a little bit, but we're conscious of some of the areas we're poor at and we've been working at those."
Last season the ‘mosquito squad' of Josh Green (33 goals), Dayne Zorko (18) and Lewis Taylor (12) provided much of the goalkicking spark and will be required to do so again in 2015.
Carlton recruit Mitch Robinson will not only bring defensive pressure, but scoring punch. He has kicked 58 goals in his 100 games and was ranked 13th in the competition for generating points from stoppages inside the forward half.
New skipper Tom Rockliff said the Lions have "close to the most depth across the AFL" in the midfield, with 12-13 players capable of rotating through, but said they needed to have more scoreboard impact.
"We probably don't hit the scoreboard enough as a midfield group, so it's a good opportunity,” he said.
"Obviously Dayne (Beams) will help with that and then Allen Christensen and Zorko and blokes like that. We're probably going to have to manufacture goals at times, but we think we've got the gameplan to do that."
Beams (118 goals in 110 games), Christensen (56 in 65) and Zorko (60 in 59) all have proven goalkicking records.
One player who won't be helping out in the forward half in 2015 is Daniel Merrett, who Leppitsch confirmed would be staying at fullback.
Merrett has been used as a stop-gap forward in recent seasons, but by his own admission had a poor season last year.
"We all know Daniel can play fullback," said Leppitsch.
"I don't think he has to prove that to himself or to us. By his own admission it wasn't a great start last year, and we moved him around and he lost confidence and that cycle started.
"We're all very confident Daniel can hold down that post for a few more years to come.