Matthew Lloyd says the Brisbane Lions are going to struggle in the 2014 AFL season.

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd is predicting a tough year for the Brisbane Lions, who kicked off their AFL pre-season campaign with a 131-point loss.

The Lions rested most of their experienced players for last week’s clash with premiers Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.

“My thinking is Brisbane’s performance in the first week (of the pre-season cup) might not be one-off,” Lloyd told Radio 3AW’s website on Wednesday.

“I think they’re in for a world of pain this year. I’m not sure that they’re happy.

“New coach, a player exodus.

“I’m not sure that everything is that happy up there in Brisbane. I think they’re in for a tough year.”

Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch is expected to name a much-stronger lineup including vice-captain Tom Rockliff, skipper Jed Adcock, Pearce Hanley, Brent Moloney, Daniel Rich and club champion Joel Patfull for Sunday’s game against Gold Coast in Townsville.

The Lions have lost talented youngsters Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Jared Polec (Port Adelaide), Sam Docherty (Carlton), Billy Longer (St Kilda) and Patrick Karnezis (Collingwood) following a dramatic 2013 which included a 12th-placed finish and the departure of coach Michael Voss.

Brownlow Medallist and star onballer Simon Black has retired after a club record of 322 games.

However Black’s fellow triple-premiership player and key forward Jonathan Brown is playing on for a 15th season, aged 32.

Another ray of hope for the Lions is the addition to their list of teenager and No.7 draft pick James Aish, a classy midfielder from SANFL club Norwood.