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Lions' AFL flop out of character: Fagan

3 minute read

Brisbane were blown away by Melbourne in their worst performance of the AFL season, losing top spot on the ladder in the process.

Lions coach CHRIS FAGAN.
Lions coach CHRIS FAGAN. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Chris Fagan is at a loss to explain Brisbane's flop on the big stage after they coughed up top spot on the AFL ladder to Melbourne.

The Lions were blown away after quarter-time in a 64-point thrashing from the Demons at the MCG on Thursday night

Fagan conceded his side should have lost by a lot more, with few clear winners across the ground.

Star ball-winner Lachie Neale was kept relatively quiet by James Harmes and a midfield unit missing Dayne Zorko and Zac Bailey was smashed despite the best efforts of Hugh McCluggage.

Jarryd Lyons was quiet after being crunched in a marking contest with Bayley Fritsch and was later substituted out of the match.

Brisbane were belted in contested possession (170-133) - a repeat of last year's qualifying final against the Demons - and were comprehensively beaten in the clearance battle (46-35).

"Staggering. It was all we talked about," Fagan said.

"You try to work out what parts of your game aren't working but it comes back to if you can't win the contest then nothing else is going to really work for you.

"Our defenders worked their backsides off tonight ... but the contested ball numbers tell you the story.

"From that comes territory and a lot of pressure on you because you're always coming from the back end to try to score."

It was Brisbane's heaviest loss of the season after three previous defeats by a combined 29 points.

"It feels like it's out of character for us," Fagan said.

"Prior to tonight we'd lost three games by small margins in games that we potentially could've won.

"Tonight, outside of the first quarter, we weren't in the hunt.

"It's terribly disappointing but it's not the end of the world.

"We get to play again next week and we get the opportunity of redemption, and that's what you have to do in this competition."

Lyons will undergo scans, while there is also some concern over Harris Andrews' sore shoulder, which required treatment after a heavy tackle.

Zorko (hamstring) and Bailey (COVID-19 protocols) are expected back for the Western Bulldogs clash in round 16.

Melbourne's win extended the Lions' barren run at the MCG, where they have now lost 10 consecutive matches.

Their last win at the ground was in 2014, and they will get another crack at it against Richmond in round 20.

"The MCG is the one that still sits there for us," Fagan said.

"I'd love to be able to play here a little bit more - that's not an excuse for tonight at all - but it would be nice to get a few more games here.

"It was a good experience tonight and we get another opportunity later in the year, so hopefully we learnt some lessons from tonight."

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