‘Below-par’ Brisbane seeking quick fix to AFL struggles

Alex Mitchell |

Ryan Lester and the Lions were left with headaches after Brisbane’s mauling at Manuka Oval.
Ryan Lester and the Lions were left with headaches after Brisbane’s mauling at Manuka Oval.

Chris Fagan says his Brisbane side have to stick together and learn from another confidence-sapping defeat if they are to turn around their poor start to the AFL campaign.

The Lions were handily beaten thanks to a second-half onslaught against GWS on Anzac Day, at one stage allowing nine unanswered goals on their way to a 17.11 (113) to 8.11 (59) loss at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.

Fagan admitted his team’s effort-level was “below-par” during the second-half bashing that led to the 54-point defeat, but wouldn’t buy into the “doom and gloom” surrounding the 2-5 start to the season from last year’s grand finalists.

Lions coach Chris Fagan
Lions coach Chris Fagan was a picture of concern as his side lost handily to the GWS Giants. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

He likened the Lions’ predicament to his first two seasons in charge of the club, when they won just five games in both campaigns while building the foundation of a title-contending outfit.

“This group has been so good for the last five years, I admire and respect them for the efforts they’ve been able to put in over the last five seasons,” he said.

“I’m not gonna sit here and bag the team for the way they performed, I’m in it with them.

“The way forward is together, that was how we became a good team in the first place … we learned from our mistakes, we stuck together and we became a good team. 

“And the way out of the situation that we’re in at the moment, particularly in the way that we played is that exact same way.

“Confidence is a quirky thing in sport, it comes and goes and I’ve got to help those boys find their confidence and connection again.”

The Lions have the Gold Coast next weekend at the Gabba before a trip to Adelaide to face the Crows.

Round five’s upset win against Melbourne remained something of a beacon of hope for Fagan, with Lions mentor suggesting it showed the capability his side still possesses.

“Melbourne has been the only time we’ve been able to turn up and play a really high-level brand of football,” he said.

“But it’s these moments where you find out about yourself as a club.

“It’s a good opportunity, I’m curious to see how we respond in the next few weeks, that’s going to be the critical thing.

“It’s not so much about what happens in a game like this, it’s what you do about it.”