‘Under pump’ Lions channel turbulence into turnaround

Murray Wenzel and Anna Harrington |

The Lions will head to Adelaide and hope to snap their losing start to the season against North.
The Lions will head to Adelaide and hope to snap their losing start to the season against North.

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan admits the AFL club’s turbulent week will help fuel their turnaround efforts, even if claims of dressing room disharmony are off the mark.

Last year’s beaten grand finalists will face North Melbourne at Adelaide’s Norwood Oval on Friday, still chasing their first win of the season.

An 0-3 start has been inflamed after reports that the events of an off-season trip to the United States sparked turmoil among players and potentially impacted their form.

Fagan admits he has key men out of form but the noted man manager, a former school teacher before joining Melbourne as an assistant in 1998, sees no deeper issues.

“They’ve been a happy group all pre-season, is all I can say,” Fagan said on Wednesday.

“I think I’m a pretty good judge of how social interactions (and) relationships are going with team members.

“Probably that’s one of my strengths. So I’ve seen no evidence of any disharmony, which was what was suggested.”

Joe Daniher and Chris Fagan.
Lions coach Chris Fagan and key forward Joe Daniher share a chat at training. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

He said the issue wouldn’t be ignored though after the side lost three successive regular-season games for the first time since 2018.

“All clubs do that all the time when you’re under the pump, so we’ll be no different to that,” Fagan said.

“At the end of the day all we’ve got is each other.

“I always believe in moving towards the obstacles, not away from them.

“Don’t dodge anything, accept full responsibility for the way things are going, myself included, and just get on with it.

“That’s the best the best way to live your life, because not everything goes perfectly.

“We’ve hit a little bump in the road right now, but you’ve got to have some fun trying to work your way through it and know and have confidence that eventually we’ll get there.”

Winless Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson is expecting a response.

Alastair Clarkson.
Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson enjoying training at Arden Street. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“They’re also 0-3 so they’ll be smarting. They’re nowhere near where they want to be,” he said.

“We’re preparing for their very, very best. Because we probably know that that’s not too far around the corner with them, given what they’ve been able to do over the last four or five years.”

He and Fagan share a long history as premiership-winning colleagues at Hawthorn, the pair attending conciliation sessions last week alongside former players after claims of racism were aired late in 2022.

“I’ve had a chat to Fages this week and we know we’re both sore losers so we stay out of each others’ way the week after the game and then we resume the friendship as normal after that,” Clarkson said.