Sunday's loss to Port Adelaide was far from a disaster, but Lincoln McCarthy concedes Brisbane has a lot to work on before round one.

The 21-point loss to the Power slightly flattered the Lions, who were second to the ball after half-time, looked half a step slower than their opponents and struggled to transition the ball with any speed.

McCarthy made no excuses, saying Brisbane "didn't hold back", trying to win by playing its strongest team.

"There's obviously a bit of rust involved, but we probably didn't work hard enough to give our ball users an option," the dynamic half forward said.

"We probably used the ball boundary side a lot … (and) they moved the ball better than we did. 

"Forward of the ball we didn't create a good enough contest, didn't bring enough numbers to the fall of the ball and just didn't have as good of attacking flair as what we want, so that's something to work on the next few weeks heading into round one." 

After a dramatic rise up the ladder from 15th to second last season that culminated in successive finals losses, Brisbane has some expectation on it this season for the first time in a decade.

McCarthy said it was important they entered the new season with a win against Carlton in their final Marsh Community Series match in a fortnight.

"There's expectation everywhere in every sport," he said.

"It's important you build on trying to win every contest you play in and that's what we try to do. 

"It'd be really good and beneficial for us to win in a couple of weeks against Carlton down there."