FOR the optimistic Brisbane Lions fans out there, here is a stat for you to bring up over the water cooler at work this week.
The Lions now boast the highest average winning margin in the AFL this season, following their 65-point thumping of the Blues at the Gabba on Saturday.
Heavy wins over Hawthorn (56) and Fremantle (55) earlier in the year mean the Lions boast an average winning margin of 58.7 points.
Only Melbourne (56.7 points) comes close to that total.
For perspective, the table-topping Tigers have a 41.5-point average winning margin.
The Lions' third win of the season also moved them ahead of Queensland rivals the Gold Coast Suns on the ladder by way of percentage.
And against rival cellar-dwellers Carlton, the Brisbane club proved their immediate future is far brighter than that of the lowly Blues.
Going further down the statistical rabbit hole, the Lions rank seventh for average losing margin.
Of the six teams who rank higher, only North Melbourne (ninth) sit outside the top eight.
While the pessimist will argue this is simply cherry-picking of stats - and yes, they would be correct - it does at least provide an insight into the Lions' promising future.
A heavy defeat to Richmond and a bad first half against North Melbourne aside, the Lions have been at least competitive in every match this season.
That is in stark contrast to teams closest to them on the ladder.
Carlton (41.9), Gold Coast (49.8), St Kilda (38.9), Western Bulldogs (43.7) and Fremantle (47) have showed greater inconsistency in their performances than the Lions.
The Lions have found themselves in winnable positions in more than a handful of eventual losses.
That can be expected to happen with a young side; and now this young side is gaining confidence.
Thus, the optimist can point to natural progression - of both individuals and as a collective - and suggest there is hope the Lions can push for a finals berth in coming years.
Sit tight Brisbane fans.
A brighter season is almost certainly on the horizon.