Back to the den: Lions ready to regroup after Victorian layover

Mitch Robinson and Charlie Cameron training at MARS Stadium in Ballarat during the week. Picture Brisbane Lions Football Club

When Brisbane travelled to Victoria three weeks ago to play Geelong, it was not expecting to still be there by Round 4.

But due to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Queensland, the Lions have not been back home since.

As the team gets ready to return to Brisbane after a 19-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at MARS Stadium, coach Chris Fagan said the experience hadn’t been bad and he isn’t worried about the 1-3 start to the season.

“It hasn’t been a bad three weeks at all for us,” he said.

“We lose a game to Geelong by a point, we beat Collingwood by a point and we played an honest enough game up here today.

“So, you wouldn’t walk away from the last three weeks saying it’s been a disaster.

“I think our club and players have held up really well, we’ve had a positive attitude coming into today.

“We’ll regroup. We think we’ve played some pretty good sides, it turns out the Swans haven’t been beaten, neither have the Dogs, and Geelong are a good side and so are Collingwood.

“So that’s a solid month.

“We’d love to be two and two, but we’re not quite. You just take that on board, we’re not down on ourselves or anything like that. We’ll be okay, we’ll bounce.”

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While the Lions were never out of the contest on Saturday, the Bulldogs always held them at arm’s length throughout the game.

Fagan identified three areas where he felt the match was lost, the free kicks his side gave away, not taking advantage of the trademark Ballarat wind and the Dogs’ strong marking options up forward.

“The free kick differential was massive, our discipline around that wasn’t as good as it should’ve been,” he said.

“We had the breeze in the first quarter and we didn’t make enough of it, which put them in a good position at quarter-time.

“You win the toss and sometimes you wonder on the road whether it’s a good thing to go with the breeze, but you just have to go with it if you win the toss. So, we didn’t make enough of our first quarter.

“I think their big guys, (Aaron) Naughton and (Tim) English, took those big contested marks in the forward line and that was probably the difference in the game.”

He also felt that the strong wind could have potentially led to some of his side’s hurried and uneven entries inside 50.

“They’re unusual conditions for AFL footy here aren’t they at this ground, you don’t often get to play in them. We trained here during the week, but it wasn’t as windy as it was today, I wish it would’ve been,” he said.

“I think that’s part of it, their familiarity with the ground is better than ours. Maybe that helps them in these conditions.”

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