Fagan bullish, but says Lions must kick straighter

Roger Vaughan |

Chris Fagan has likened the Lions’ goalkicking woes to a good golfer struggling with the putter.
Chris Fagan has likened the Lions’ goalkicking woes to a good golfer struggling with the putter.

Bad goalkicking is enemy No.1 for coach Chris Fagan as he tries to turn around Brisbane’s “precarious” AFL plight.

The Lions resume from their mid-season bye in 13th place, two-and-a-half games outside the top eight, when they play the in-form Western Bulldogs on Friday night at Marvel Stadium.

It looks dire for last year’s grand finalists, but Fagan was bullish on Thursday morning when assessing their form.

“It’s an interesting thing with my team, obviously we’ve had a bit of a break and you can do a health check,” he said.

“Our actual performance profile is really strong. The one area where we’ve let ourselves down significantly this year is accuracy in front of goal.

“But in terms of getting the ball inside 50, shots on goal, I think we have the least shots against in the AFL – you go and have a look at it, our profile is pretty good.

“So we take a little bit of confidence from that.”

Fagan says the key is not to focus on what they need to do during games, rather than where their season sits.

“Yes, we are in a precarious position. We know that. But thinking about that is not going to help us win games,” he said.

“It’s just focusing in on what we need to do.”

Exhibit A for Fagan is their last game against Hawthorn, where they kicked a wasteful 10.15 to the Hawks’ 15.10.

Overall, they have kicked 131.138 in their 11 games.

“In the third quarter, when we had opportunities, we kicked 3.7 and they kicked 1.3,” he said of the loss to Hawthorn.

Fagan compared his team’s inaccuracy to a golfer whose putting is off and their whole game falls away as a result.

He added they had been working on goalkicking throughout the season, but said it was a matter of improving the quality of their shots, rather than the quantity at training.

Defender Brandon Starcevich is set to return after four games out with a calf muscle injury.

Meanwhile, Fagan confirmed on Thursday that former Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew would join the Lions next week as a part-time assistant coach.

Dew will return to the AFL after he was sacked by the Suns in July last year.

“He reached out a few weeks ago, he’s keen to get back into coaching. We think he can help our younger players in their skill development and game knowledge.

“He’s a highly credentialled coach … he did a good job at the Suns and it’s good to have a person like him back involved.”