Lions lean on recent history for AFL boost

·2-min read

Brisbane think their tough run to the AFL preliminary final will serve them well on Friday night against Geelong, and history agrees.

Since the pre-finals bye was introduced in 2016 only once have the winners of both qualifying finals then won their preliminary final after having another week off.

In 2016 and 2020 both teams that won their qualifying finals lost their preliminary finals.

Only twice - the Western Bulldogs in 2016 and Richmond in 2020 - have teams played every week of the finals and won the flag.

But given five of the six finals since 2016 have featured teams that played every week, the Lions and Collingwood - who play Sydney in the other preliminary final - should fancy their chances of qualifying.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has been a long-time critic of the format, particularly after his men were rolled in 2020.

They now have a chance to exploit it.

"It's a good position to be in, to play all the way though helps build momentum," Brisbane forward Daniel McStay said.

"We're extremely confident now and we do like (adopting) the hunters mentality.

"(After beating Melbourne) we know our pressure game stands up when it probably hasn't previously."

The Lions will arrive at the MCG as huge underdogs to beat minor premiers Geelong, just as they did a week earlier before upsetting defending champions Melbourne.

The Cats had their feet up watching that game after prevailing in their own finals epic against Collingwood a week earlier to make it 14 straight wins.

But that will have been Geelong's only game in 26 days, dating back to their final-round thumping of West Coast on August 20.

In that time the Lions' world has flipped; a shocking final-round loss to Melbourne forgotten thanks to a battle-hardening finals defeat of the Tigers and then sweet Demons, hoodoo-busting revenge last Friday.

Brisbane can turn the tables on Geelong in a reversal of the 2020 season when the fresh, favoured Lions lost by 40 points to the Cats in a Gabba preliminary final.

McStay remembers it well.

"We'd finally won a final and (after having a week off) probably came into the Geelong game a little underprepared about what you need to play in a prelim," he said.

"We're in a really good position ... they've won 14 or so in a row, it's a great time to get them."