The Brisbane Lions will have a near full-strength squad after Christmas, with only a few players left remaining in the rehab group.

After finishing up pre-season training for the year last Friday, High-Performance Manager Damien Austin said everything is running smoothly towards next season.

“The boys arrived at the start of pre-season in very good shape which meant we could do more skills which can progress their development,” Austin said.  

“We couldn’t ask any more of them.” 

In line with new rules from the AFL and AFLPA, the team will have an extra week off over Christmas this year. 

Austin and his staff have prepared detailed programs for all the players to complete individually over the three-week break. 

“We put a greater emphasis on the skills and kicking, and make sure they are doing some ground ball work.”

“They will have a running program as well but the skills take a greater emphasis over the three weeks.”

Austin also provided an injury update on the following players:

Charlie Cameron 

Returning from a Lisfranc injury. 

“Charlie went into match play last week and will be back into full training after Christmas. He’s gone really well.”

Darcy Gardiner

Returning from a shoulder reconstruction. 

“Darcy will be back into contact training post-Christmas. The shoulder is going really well. He has done most of the skills that are non-contact. We expect him to be fine after Christmas.” 

Connor Ballenden

Returning from a fractured hand. 

“Connor came out of the brace last week [after suffering a fractured hand]. He’s got a bit of movement to develop within his wrist. He should be into full training after Christmas.”

New draftees

“[Tom] Joyce and [Thomas] Berry are going quite well – they’ve been running for a couple of weeks now. We are working on developing their fitness and running capacity. They will start into the skills after Christmas.” 

“Connor [McFadyen] will start running over the Christmas break. All going well we expect him to continue his running progression and begin skills in late January/early February.”