Lions in no rush despite top four AFL race

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Brisbane coach Chris Fagan insists the Lions still have room to be cautious with player returns despite the closeness of the race for the AFL's top four.

Last weekend's loss to Essendon has left the Lions hanging onto their top four berth on percentage ahead of Carlton and in-form Collingwood heading into Saturday's clash with GWS in Canberra.

After a week where nine players were ruled out through a combination of injury and COVID-19 before the Bombers game, several troops are preparing to return to face the Giants.

While ruckman Oscar McInerney is the latest Lion to test positive to COVID-19, all those who missed last week's game due to the AFL's health and safety protocols are pushing for selection.

Injured quartet Daniel Zorko, Daniel Rich, Jarrod Berry and Jaxon Prior have also returned to training but Fagan believes the stakes are not yet desperate enough to be rushing back any players who are not yet completely ready to play.

"We're still in a good position on the ladder and we've still got a little bit up our sleeve," Fagan said.

"We're not desperation stakes or anything like that.

"The temptation is always there to pick your best team every week but I just feel like, at this point, the right thing to do is to be as sensible as possible."

Despite the Bombers becoming the first team to leave the Gabba with a win this season and the Lions having now lost four of their past seven matches, Fagan is also adamant last weekend's result needs to be put into the context of a heavily disrupted week.

"I'll back our group in," he said.

"I thought under all the circumstances last week, the performance had some merit in it.

"Whilst I thought in the first half defensively we lacked cohesion, to still be still being four points down with one minute to play with that many changes, I thought that showed a lot of courage by our boys to keep pegging away."

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