Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is at a loss to explain his team’s awful night in front of goal in their AFL loss to Richmond.
In recent years the Brisbane Lions have built a reputation of being comeback kings, but the side’s stagnation since 2010 points to a flawed mentality.
Brisbane have regularly let sides jump them early in a match, having to mount monumental charges just to get back into the contest.
This was evident again on Saturday night at the Gabba, as Collingwood waltzed out to a lead in excess of 50 points midway through the third quarter.
True to form the Lions roared back to get within 10, ultimately falling 12 short, despite kicking the game’s last seven majors.
Brisbane fans have grown accustom to heroic comebacks, such as the 2013 ‘Miracle on Grass’ match against Geelong, which saw the Lions overturn a 52-point deficit and claim victory after the siren thanks to an Ashley McGrath bomb.
You can look at such performances in two ways: the first is to optimistically say Brisbane have tremendous belief, a ‘never say die’ attitude and will fight until the end. The second, pessimistic option, is a faulty mental approach in that they don’t take the game on until they’re well down.
As thrilling as comebacks are, the regularity in which they occur for the Lions points to the latter.
It’s as if Brisbane say “what’ve we got to lose? Let’s just go for it”, throwing structure out the door, opting instead for a run-and-gun approach.
Other notable comebacks in recent seasons include the Round 21 fixture against Adelaide in 2012, which saw the Crows lead by 38 points at quarter time only to lose by 10.
North Melbourne have also felt the wrath of the Lions, squandering a 33-point advantage late in the third term of the Round 16 game in 2013 as Brisbane kicked 11 of the last 13 goals to win by 12.
Although this game didn’t result in a win for the Lions, the 2013 Round 20 fixture against Richmond also supports the argument. Brisbane eventually lost by 23 but they got within touching distance of stealing victory, despite Richmond boasting a 45-point lead in the second quarter.
The Lions’ abundance of talent and youth ensures they have a promising future, but they must address what has become a clear mental hindrance if they’re to progress up the ladder.
Allowing opposition sides a five-goal handicap isn’t going to cut it in the chase for finals.