2019 IN REVIEW
Fourth (up three positions - 3 more wins)
11 wins, 5 losses
Lost to Melton in elimination final
Senior players: 45
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING (home and away)
Quarters won: 37
Best quarters: third (averaged 14-point lead), third (highest average score, 27 points)
Worst quarters: first (averaged 2-point deficit), first (lowest average score, 15 points)
Highest quarter score: 48 points
Quarters less than 10 points: 11
BEST AND FAIREST - Alik Magin
LEADING GOALKICKER - Lachie Bramble 21
HENDERSON MEDAL VOTING
25-Alik Magin - winner
How quickly things can change.
Just ask Sunbury.
The Lions went from looking set for a second semi-final berth to moth balls within one quarter - the last term of an elimination final against Melton, in which the Bloods came from nowhere.
It was a highly disappointing end to a campaign which promised much more under new coach Travis Hodgson.
Hopes were high from the outset after missing out on finals in 2018 for the first time joining the BFL two decades ago.
They recruited solidly, but the most important gains were convincing Lachie Bramble and Mitch Conn to give up VFL commitments and go full-time with the Lions.
The return of mercurial Alik Magin to his best - form which secured him the Henderson Medal - was another factor to get Sunbury on track to where it wanted to be.
It was a slow build for Sunbury.
QUICK STICKS: WRAPPING UP THE LIONS' SEASON IN 30 SECONDS
Eighth after three rounds, the Lions moved in and out of the top six for several weeks and at the halfway mark was still seventh with five wins and four losses.
It was from then that they began to build, winning their next five games to get to third and within percentage of top spot after 15 rounds.
Sunbury finished fourth, just percentage from the top.
The opportunity was there, but it could not take it and before the Lions knew it was season over.
Home ground advantage played a part in many games last season, but no more than for Sunbury, which went through unbeaten at Clarke Oval.
This has been a pattern for a number of years, but even more significant was the Lions breaking their extended non-winning run at Ballarat venues.
This is something they need to keep working on if they are to become a stand-out premiership contender once again.
Sunbury has further bolstered their playing ranks with the return of Mathew Medcraft and addition of Riddell star Hayden Ross.
Throw in what is expected to be a much fitter Jarrah Maksymow and the Lions' list looks like being stronger.
If expectations were high this year, they will be much higher next year
Sunbury was an immediate hit when it arrived in the BFL in 1997, winning three flags first up and another in 2004.
It has won only one since, in 2012, and for the Sunbury inner sanctum that is too long.
Sunbury should play finals again next season.
The Lions are probably a little on the light for key position players and would like to add to their stocks.
Sunbury has no shortage of young talent and in the next few years needs to foster that around the class they boast.
Showed glimpses that it the potential to be a major threat for a premiership, but let itself down when it mattered most - the last quarter of an elimination final with the season on the line.
Still a strong response after missing finals in 2018.