CHAMPION Lion Simon Black has put the heat on Brisbane's key forwards to elevate its performance if the club is to win a fairytale premiership in 2020.
Eric Hipwood (23 goals from 17 games) and Dan McStay (10 goals from 15 games) have put together solid seasons, although wayward goalkicking has often prevented them from bigger outputs.?
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Hipwood, in particular, has improved noticeably in the past six rounds with his aerial presence.
However, on the back of last year's finals exit against GWS, where Phil Davis and Nick Haynes took numerous final quarter intercept marks, Black is not the first to cast doubt over the duo.
Matthew Lloyd has previously said they were the big question mark on Brisbane's flag credentials.
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"I don't want to put too much pressure on the boys, but their key forwards really need to stand up in finals," Black said after being announced as this year's premiership cup ambassador.
"The sides I played in with Alastair Lynch and Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw, we had some really talented key forwards.
"The Lions need to defend well, clearly, but they also need some contributions from their key forwards in the big finals.
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"For mine, those boys really need to stand up and it just takes the heat off those small forwards, which has been a strength of theirs over time."
Black is one of the most decorated players in club history, part of the trio of premierships from 2001-2003, along with winning a Brownlow Medal and Norm Smith Medal.
He said Friday night's qualifying final against Richmond would go a long way towards determining the Lions' fate, as the home team tries to snap a 15-game losing streak against the premier.?
"It's enormous. I don’t think you can understate how big that is for the club," Black said.
"On the back of the last 15 games … the confidence that would create if they can beat Richmond, the sky's the limit thereafter I believe."?