Brisbane coach Chris Fagan. Image: lions.com.au

While Brisbane trained at Olympic Park in Melbourne, their minds and hearts were firmly with the flood victims and community back home in Queensland

While Brisbane trained at Olympic Park in Melbourne in preparation for their AAMI Series clash with the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, their minds and hearts were firmly with the community back home in Queensland in the same way they have been behind them over the last few seasons.

The Lions held their main training session of the week on Wednesday in Melbourne after the Queensland floods altered their planning ahead of their final dress rehearsal before their Round One clash with Port Adelaide at the Gabba.

The floods forced the Lions indoors for thier Monday session as their training base at Yeronga was underwater. While none of their men’s players or staff were directly implicated by the floods, forwards coach Jed Adcock couldn’t travel with the team to Melbourne due to road closures and not being able to leave his residential area.

Fagan said that getting to Melbourne a day early had kept the week and preparation on track, adding that the past two COVID-affected years had prepared the club to be flexible and able to act quickly.

“Because of what’s happened over the last two years you’re sort of ready for anything at the moment,” Fagan said.

“We’ve been able to come down a day early and get a good training session in, which is a bonus for us because there wouldn’t have been anywhere to train in Brisbane, probably this week”

Prior to flying to Melbourne on Wednesday morning,  players were in their flood-affected community, donating time and apparel as part of the recovery effort. 

Fagan said that just as the Brisbane community support the Lions by flocking to the Gabba week in week out to support the team play, it was important that a show of support was reciprocated in the act of community service.

“It’s incredibly important because they (the public) wrap their arms around us,” Fagan said.

“They turn up at the Gabba and cheer us on. You walk down the streets these days and it seems like every second person is a Brisbane Lions supporter.

“There’s been some devastating events this week for a number of people.

“We’re pretty proud of what we do in the community, and whatever happens up there, whether it be an event like that or something else, we want to get behind it.”

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A strong Lions squad trained in front of their Melbourne-based fans and will have a near full team to pick from for Friday night’s clash with only captain Dayne Zorko (ankle) and Eric Hipwood (knee) missing from its best 22.

Fagan said that the group will take little things from last weeks thumping win against Adelaide, but says facing last year’s runners-up will be a good test for the Lions to come up against another Premiership contender.

“They’ll be trying things, we’ll be trying things as we did last week,” he said.

“The Dogs will be a team near the top of the ladder, you’d suspect, so it’s good to get a game against them leading into round one.”

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