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One bad game: Lions not jumpy on 'below best' Hipwood

3 minute read

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan is refusing to overreact as he looks to solve the poor conversion of inside-50 entries that's exacerbated his team's 0-3 start.

Chris Fagan.
Chris Fagan. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Chris Fagan will hold his nerve as he ponders solutions to a problem the Brisbane Lions' coach reckons is glaringly obvious.

The Lions, beaten by four points in last year's AFL grand final, are 0-3 ahead of Friday's Gather Round clash with the also winless North Melbourne at Norwood Oval in Adelaide.

That's despite Brisbane winning the inside-50 count in all three of their games.

"We're not getting enough rewards for those entries at the moment," Fagan said.

"You don't have to be Einstein to work that out ... (but) it'd be a worse problem if we weren't getting it in there.

"You can't just put your finger on one thing, and our connection has usually been good."

In Thursday's 20-point loss to Collingwood the Lions turned 56 forward entries into 22 scoring shots, tall forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood combining for just seven marks - one contested - between them.

That pair were criticised early in the 2023 season, and Hipwood in particular has again been a lightning rod after a quiet, eight-disposal performance against the Magpies.

"He was definitely below his best the other night," the Lions coach said of Hipwood.

"He kicked three against Fremantle, which was decent.

"He was reasonable against Carlton and he had a really good pre-season, so he's had one bad game.

"It was a bad game, but it was one bad game."

Fagan has prided himself on his man-management since arriving at Brisbane in 2017 and stressed the importance of patience as the Lions look to end a run of three successive regular-season losses for the first time in six years.

"The key to it all is not to over-react; stick to what you know works. Things turn in footy," he said.

"Sometimes the biggest mistake you can make is jump around too much.

"Change too many things and you lose the essence of who you are as a team and blokes really start not believing in themselves."

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