Lions coach Fagan wants answers to mid-game wobbles

Justin Chadwick |

Lions coach Chris Fagan is glad of the early-season bye after a poor start to their campaign.
Lions coach Chris Fagan is glad of the early-season bye after a poor start to their campaign.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan says the early-season bye has come at a good time as he attempts to find a solution to his team’s worrying mid-game slumps.

Fagan is still optimistic his team can still challenge for the top four despite sinking to 0-2 with losses to Carlton and Fremantle.

Brisbane led the Blues by 46 points in their season-opener before being pegged back to lose by a single point.

The Lions also led Fremantle 27-2 in Perth on Saturday night before losing 14.9 (93) to 10.10 (70).

Despondent Lions
Lions players leave the field despondent after their defeat by the Dockers in Perth. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Brisbane coughed up eight unanswered goals in both of those matches, and Fagan is determined to find out why.

“It’s something new to have those drop offs in the middle of the game,” Fagan said.

“I don’t have an early theory, I must admit. I haven’t seen them coming, both times that they’ve occurred, and we tried a lot of things today to quell Fremantle’s momentum.

“We took a spare behind the ball, we played an extra at the stoppage – the usual things that you do – but it didn’t make any difference in the middle part of that game, which is disappointing.

“You want to stop momentum. You don’t want teams to score a lot of goals in a row, and that’s happened twice in a row now.”

The Lions have a bye next round, before taking on Collingwood in a grand final rematch on March 28 at the Gabba.

Given Brisbane’s early-season struggles, Fagan is glad to have some extra time up his sleeve to find solutions. 

“Fortunately, we’ve got a few days now before we play Collingwood,” Fagan said.

“If we’d won those two games, I’d probably say that I don’t want that bye. 

“It probably will be good just to take a bit of a breath in and work out a few things.

“Collingwood, who played in the grand final last year, are struggling as well (at 0-2), so we’ve just got to find a way.”

In 2021, Brisbane started the season 0-2 and 1-3 and still managed to finish fourth.

The Lions were 1-2 last year before finishing second on the ladder and reaching the grand final.

Fagan is confident his team will rebound again.

“We’ve been zero and two before and made the top four,” Fagan said.

“It’s a long way away, but we just have to think clearly about what’s going on and try and find some solutions.

“We will remain optimistic.”

Brisbane’s early woes have been compounded by injuries.

Defender Keidean Coleman suffered a season-ending knee injury against Carlton, while Darcy Gardiner (suspected PCL) and Conor McKenna (hamstring) were casualties against Fremantle.

Two-time Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale, who missed the loss to Fremantle with hamstring tightness, will return against the Magpies.