Brisbane Lions to face Eagles in 2016 opening round

Forward thinking ... The Brisbane Lions should target Sam Grimley when the delisted free agency period starts this Saturday. Photo: AAP Images
Forward thinking ... The Brisbane Lions should target Sam Grimley when the delisted free agency period starts this Saturday. Photo: AAP Images JOE CASTRO

Brisbane knows its opponent. It will now just be a matter of determining who goes into battle for it in round one next season.

The opening round draw has been released, with the Lions having to play grand finalist West Coast at Subiaco.

They will take a new-look line-up across the country to face the 2015 runners-up, but just how many new faces remains to be seen.

Recruited during the trade period, Josh Walker (Geelong) and Tom Bell (Carlton) will be walk-up starts in attack, and could yet be joined by another mature-age recruit, Sam Grimley.

After leading the VFL goalkicking for the past two seasons, the axed Hawk (pictured) could fill the role of marking forward and backup ruckman to Stefan Martin.

The 24-year-old will get a chance to receive a lifeline when the delisted free agency period begins on Saturday.

The Lions picked up Mitch Robinson during the same period in 2014 and he went on to become joint-best and fairest winner in 2015, while Jeremy Laidler (Sydney) and Daniel Cross (Melbourne) got second chances in 2013.

While ex-Lion Jack Redden will confront his old teammates in round one, Chris Yarran could do the same when his new club Richmond kicks off the season against Carlton on Thursday, March 24.

The Easter long weekend fixture will also see Gold Coast host Essendon.

The entire draw will be released on Thursday.

ROUND 1 2016

Richmond v Carlton, MCG, (N)Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney, MCGGold Coast v Essendon, Metricon, (T)Sydney v Collingwood, ANZ Stadium, (N)North Melbourne v Adelaide, Etihad Stadium, (N)Western Bulldogs v Fremantle, Etihad StadiumPort Adelaide v St Kilda, Adelaide OvalWest Coast v Brisbane Lions, Subiaco (T)Geelong v Hawthorn, MCG


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