Lions chase reserves action after AFL hub

Murray Wenzel

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan hopes to arrange regular scratch matches with Gold Coast once the two clubs' AFL hub rivals depart to ensure he isn't forced to blindly promote players later this season.

Both clubs have enjoyed the chance to test their unselected players in scratch matches against hub rivals West Coast, Fremantle and Adelaide before their respective AFL clashes in the last fortnight.

With no reserves competitions being played, it's the only opportunity for unselected squad members to stay match-fit and push their case.

It helped Lions' ruckman Archie Smith prove he was ready to replace the injured Stef Martin, while Jesse Hogan returned for Fremantle after one scratch match game and Suns' livewire Izak Rankine began his quest for an AFL debut with a standout scratch match performance last weekend.

Fagan hopes the two in-form Queensland clubs can lean on each other once their interstate rivals head home later next month, admitting it could otherwise become guess work when making any changes to his side.

"There's a lot of unlucky players at our club playing in reserves," he said.

"But so far so good because we've been able to have scratch matches.

"Guys are getting match practice but when the hub's over up here it'll be interesting to see what happens.

"Hopefully we'll do a deal with Gold Coast and try to play those guys most weekends.

"Even though it's not the greatest thing to be playing the same team every week, it's better than not playing at all ... you need to tick them along."

Geelong and Collingwood will be the first Victorian teams to enter a West Australian hub, but others may also rotate through after AFL fixture boss Travis Auld said all clubs needed to "share the pain".

Fagan said his squad were mentally prepared for whatever was thrown at them once their rare four-game home stretch ends next weekend.

In preparation, he has tapped into his cricket connections, who relayed tips on how they coped with long stints confined to hotels and cricket fields on tours of India.

"The critical thing is, A: don't think it's easy and B: you've got to have a positive attitude to it and embrace the situation.

"If that confronts us at some point then that's what we'll do."