Lions coach to lower volume in AFL opener

Murray Wenzel
Brisbane AFL coach Chris Fagan says he will have to adjust his coaching style against Hawthorn

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has played down the omission of recruit Callum Ah Chee for Sunday's AFL opener against Hawthorn.

But the mentor admitted his own coaching style may change after watching the season begin in an empty MCG on Thursday.

Gold Coast pick-up Ah Chee will miss a potential club debut because of sickness, Fagan and Lions football boss David Noble insisting it was a common cold and that no player had been tested for the coronavirus.

Fagan wouldn't say if the defender was in line for a start if fit, while he said fellow recruit Cameron Ellis-Yolman would likely get his chance later this season after also missing selection.

"He's (Ah Chee) got a head cold and he hasn't been able to train the last couple of days so he's not well enough to play," Fagan said.

"We'll get injuries and all sorts of things and opportunities will come.

"He (Ellis-Yolman) actually played well in the reserves game against Carlton but our AFL team played particularly well on that night as well so the plan is this week, we are not going to make too many changes."

Fagan said he "hadn't sugar-coated" the situation when addressing players earlier this week but that they had done well to switch their attention to the Hawks since round one got the green light.

Used to training in an empty Gabba, he said that "eeriness" would only impact his off-field procedures.

"Probably fair to say you can't yell out as much because the opposition in the coaches box will be able to hear what you are saying so we'll just be a little quieter," he said.

Hawthorn veteran Grant Birchall as well as Keidean Coleman, Connor Ballenden and Deven Robertson could all make club or AFL debuts after being named in Thursday's extended squad.

"Birch is a really steady sort of a character; he brings a calmness to our defensive unit he obviously brings a lot of experience which he's been able to pass on," Fagan said.

"He's a very, very good person and on top of that he's a great footballer when he's fit he's one of the best rebounding defenders going around, so we are looking forward to his contribution."