Star Brisbane midfielder Lachie Neale has shrugged off Kane Cornes' claim the Lions can't win the 2020 AFL flag, saying this year's heartbreaking exit has already lit a fire in the belly for next season.
Former Port Adelaide premiership player Cornes this week dismissed Brisbane's 2020 hopes, saying he isn't convinced they can improve on their breakthrough year after bowing out in the 2019 finals in straight sets.
Indeed the Lions have a hard act to follow after stunning the AFL by finishing second on the ladder and contesting their first playoffs in 10 years.
But Neale said the Lions were determined to prove 2019 was no fluke.
"I think Kane is quite a vocal personality in the media and is entitled to his opinion," Neale said.
"But I don't think he would have spent much time in Brisbane and around our footy club.
"There is not much complacency that I can see. The guys are looking to improve and go better again next season."
Kornes' call that Brisbane could be the "Melbourne of 2019" next year by getting plenty excited but delivering little threatened to fire up Brisbane.
But Neale said the Lions didn't need Cornes' criticism for motivation after bowing out in a three point semi-final loss to Greater Western Sydney.
"We touched on that before. We are not satisfied with last year," Neale said.
"There is a lot of improvement in us. The guys took a fair bit from those two finals losses and are pretty hungry to improve.
"Judging by the condition everyone was in yesterday (at pre-season return) I doubt there is any complacency."
Neale emerged as one of the AFL's premier midfielders this year, earning his first All-Australian nod and finishing equal third in the Brownlow Medal count.
However Neale said even he was looking to improve in 2020.
"Over this pre-season I will work a fair bit on my footwork and explosiveness out of stoppages and ground balls," he said.
"I probably went to ground a little bit too much last season so I will work on that and a couple of other things I will try to add to my game which I won't reveal at the moment."
Neale's first priority will be greeting new housemate AFL Draft pick Deven Robertson who arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday.
"My wife Jules and I will be looking after him for the first few months," Neale said.
"If he can cook and clean alright Jules might give him a contract extension."
Australian Associated Press