‘Doom and gloom’: Beaten Lions lost for answers

AFL Rd 7 -  GWS v Brisbane
Chris Fagan has every right to look concerned. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan was reluctant to lash his players for a “well below par” effort in Canberra that included a second-half smashing to raise serious concerns not just about their premiership credentials but their finals hopes.

Last year’s grand finalists were outscored 61-15 by GWS after halftime in a 54-point defeat that again put the spotlight on the coach, with the Lions struggling with a 2-5 record and time fast running out to correct their worrying slide.

While Fagan said the Lions “just didn’t work as hard” as the opposition, he vowed not to “bag” them for the lacklustre effort, adamant they can turn things around.

“It sounds all doom and gloom but this group has been so good for the past five years, I admire and respect them for the efforts that they’ve put in over the past five seasons,” Fagan said.

“I’m not going to sit here and bag the team for the way they performed tonight, I’m in it with them. The way forward is together, that’s how we became a good team in the first place.

“When I first took over here, we won five games in each of my first two seasons, but we learned from our mistakes, we stuck together, and we became a good team. The way out of our situation at the moment is that exact same way.”

AFL Rd 7 -  GWS v Brisbane
Chris Fagan and the Lions have some soul-searching to do. Picture: Jason McCawley/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Victorious coach Adam Kingsley and his men returned to the winner’s list despite missing key players for the Anzac Day clash. Sam Taylor, Stephen Coniglio and Skipper Toby Greene all missed the match against the Lions.

However, it was first-gamer Darcy Jones who brought Canberra’s Giants fans to their feet. The long-awaited debut of the highly touted youngster was off to a fast start, as he kicked his first goal just 10 minutes in and doubled his return in the final quarter.

After tearing his ACL halfway into his first VFL game for the club last year, Jones’s mentality to get back impressed Kingsley and he was blown away by the rookie’s performance.

“He looked electric,” Kingsley said,.“He looked like every time he was near the ball something was going to happen.

“I think he showed really, really good composure for a guy playing his first game. He played half a VFL game last year and did his knee, he’s played four games this year, that’s not a lot of footy.”

After an “arm wrestle” in the first half, Kingsley was happy with his teams’s ability to work back into the game after missing that mark in a couple of their previous outings.

“For us to be able to respond (to Brisbane’s fightback) is something we didn’t do against Carlton, we didn’t do it against St. Kilda,” he said.

“We responded really well tonight and kept the margin within reach, and to play the way we did in the second half was really pleasing.”