Fagan hits back at Lions' AFL flag critics

·2-min read

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has scoffed at the suggestion the Lions' up-and-down recent results mean the Lions cannot win an AFL premiership.

After starting the 2022 season with eight wins in their opening nine games, Brisbane have won four and lost four of their past eight matches to be in a tight race for a top-four berth.

The Lions mid-season wobble has led to some writing off their chance of being a genuine shot at the flag but not Fagan.

"I don't really care what they say to be honest," Fagan said of his team's doubters.

"It's got nothing to do with what's going on here within the four walls and if you look at every team - Melbourne has gone through the same thing - it happens.

"All my years at Hawthorn there was always a patch in the year where it got a little bit shaky, where you might lose a couple in a row or win, loss, win, loss.

"It's just the season ... it's very, very hard to stay up and win every week.

"How you cope with your losses and how you cope with your slumps and how quickly you come out of them is the critical thing."

Brisbane's difficult mid-season period has included a run of injuries to key players as well as a COVID-19 outbreak which disrupted preparation before their home game against Essendon a fortnight ago.

Fagan has no such concerns heading into Saturday's Queensland derby against Gold Coast at the Gabba however with captain Dayne Zorko, as well as defenders Daniel Rich and Marcus Adams, wingman Jarrod Berry and ruckman Oscar McInerney all coming back into his team.

The Suns' hopes of a maiden finals campaign took a huge blow with a disappointing loss to the Bombers at Marvel Stadium last weekend, and coach Stuart Dew has made four changes to his team as Gold Coast look to end a seven-game losing run to their near-neighbours.

Elijah Hollands has been named to make his AFL debut while Brayden Fiorini, Jack Bowes and Sam Day are among those left out.

Fagan says his team having the wood over the Suns in recent contests has no bearing heading into this match, which he says will be different than past occasions due to the wider stakes for both clubs.

"They're at a time in their history where they're having their best season ever," Fagan said.

"They need to win tomorrow to try and keep their finals hopes alive and we need to win to try and make sure we finish in finals and finish as high as we can.

"There's a lot at stake. It's a different contest altogether to the previous ones."

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