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Fagan plays down Lions' MCG AFL 'monkey'

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Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has played down the AFL club's poor record at the MCG after the Lions squandered a 42-point lead against Richmond on Sunday.

CHRIS FAGAN. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan denies the Lions' MCG record has become a "monkey" on their backs but admits the club made the wrong call in picking their substitute for the heartbreaking loss against Richmond.

The Lions looked set to end a 10-game losing streak at the home of the AFL grand final when they led the Tigers by 42 points midway through the second quarter on Sunday.

But their winless run at the MCG since 2014 was extended as Richmond produced a scintillating comeback and the Lions wilted under the pressure.

Fagan believes the hungry Tigers overwhelmed the Lions, not the ground.

"I don't believe in the MCG monkey, that's something that everybody else is talking about," Fagan said.

"My personal view is that we just haven't won here whenever we've played here, which hasn't been very often.

"We played much, much better, it was our best performance here (for some time).

"But the ground is no excuse, our football team has won at just about every venue in the country over the last three or four years.

"The MCG is just another one of those venues."

Fagan did admit the Lions erred in choosing ruckman Darcy Fort to be the substitute when in-form defender Brandon Starcevich was a late withdrawal with quad tightness.

Speedy forward Zac Bailey was subbed out in the second quarter with internal bruising and will likely spend Sunday night in a Melbourne hospital.

Bailey's absence brought Fort into the contest, as Richmond's speed across the ground came to the fore through players such as Shai Bolton.

"In hindsight, it was the wrong decision to have Darcy as the medi-sub," Fagan said.

"We have our reasons for doing it, and they're good reasons, but in reflection it would have been better off to have a running player in that role."

Fagan said Starcevich's injury was a crucial one as he would have played on Bolton, who produced a match-winning display.

"That was the match-up, but who knows whether he would have done a good job or not, you can't really tell," he said.

The Lions, who have finished top-four for the last three seasons, have slumped to fifth on the ladder ahead of their last three home-and-away games against Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne.

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