IT IS time for the under performing Brisbane Lions to turn promise into results.
That was Lions coach Michael Voss's no-nonsense assessment of his players heading into what could potentially be a make-or-break season for him.
As his players continued their preparation for tomorrow's third-round NAB Cup pre-season hitout against Carlton at Maroochydore, Voss denied yesterday that he was under an inordinate amount of pressure to perform.
But after watching his side finish near-bottom of the ladder in the past two seasons, there is no doubt Voss - the captain of Brisbane's premiership-winning teams in 2001, '02 and '03 - will come under intense pressure if the Lions continue to misfire, despite inking a new two-year contract last August.
Of course, the pressure valve will be released somewhat if Brisbane can get its 2012 campaign off to a good start.
Voss was unequivocal yesterday in his expectations of the team this season.
"The next step is to show that improvement. That's what we need to see," he said.
"For us to improve, we need players to take the next step … they need to become better footballers for us to become a better team."
The Lions go into tomorrow's clash at the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex near full-strength.
Even with skipper Jonathan Brown (cheekbone) and defender Josh Drummond (hip) still missing, it will be the club's strongest line-up this pre-season.
Fullback Daniel Merrett and midfielder Daniel Rich have both overcome minor injuries and will have their first official pre-season hitout against the Blues. Simon Black, Jed Adcock, Pearce Hanley, Joel Patfull, Patrick Karnezis and Ben Hudson also return after being rested from last week's game with Adelaide in Alice Springs game - a clash the Lions lost by 51 points.
"Obviously, everyone's at different levels of their preparation, but we've got to get some full games into the guys now and start to build our combinations," Voss said.
Brisbane has a tough start to the season, playing Melbourne away in round one before backing up at home against Carlton only five days later and then playing Fremantle in Western Australia.
Carlton will hold an open training session at Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex from 4pm today.
Brisbane v Carlton
Maroochydore Multi Sports
Complex. Gates open 2pm.
Game starts at 3.40pm
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