Brisbane coach Chris Fagan believes many AFL observers view their semi-final victory over Melbourne as a fluke.
Combine that with their “terrible” Round 1 loss to Port Adelaide and the Lions have a lot to prove at the Gabba on Friday.
The Devils had defeated Brisbane in their previous three meetings before the Lions turned the tables in victory at the MCG Finals last year.
“I see you don’t really get inside an opposing team’s head until you’ve beaten them more than once,” said Fagan.
“There are probably a lot of people in the football world who might think that winning was just luck last year.
“So we’re out to prove that we’re actually a good football team, and more than anything we just want to respond to last week.”
A hamstring injury kept former captain Dane Zurko out of the season opener, as the Lions held 130 uncontested possessions compared to Port’s 257.
He will return to add pressure and composure, but he will not solve the problems of the Lions on his own.
“It just revealed that if we don’t show up and play as hard as we can, we’re just an ordinary team,” Fagan said of his defeat to the force.
“I know what the numbers look like, they’re horrific.
“I haven’t seen such horrible numbers from us for a long time, never have we had so many men in one day.”
But, after an off-season promoted by the addition of key recruits and pilot stock, has their faith waned?
“I don’t think so… (in 2021) we were 1-3 and everyone was canceling us out and we finished in the top four… It’s just one game,” he said.
“Round 1 is a bit like Grand Final week; there’s a lot of pre-season and the winners are smirks and the losers, their season allegedly in tatters.”
The best answer to any defensive concerns, Fagan said, is to get their hands on the football more often.
Explaining the arrival of Collingwood’s Brody Grundy, the hilarious director gave Max Gawn the same challenge as last year’s Gawn-Luke Jackson set.
“We had to deal with that last year in the final and we managed to deal with it well,” Fagan said.
“We learned some things from that and they probably learned some things from that.”
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