With the impending finish to the weird and wacky 2020 AFL season, the silly season is about to begin. And the silly season means one thing: trade period.
The questions came when Harris Andrews went down injured, and they reappeared when Lachie Neale was kept quiet under a hard tag.
But Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is still at pains to point out his AFL premiership contenders aren’t a one-man band.
Neale switched from chief ball-winner to a more sacrificial role under close attention from Sydney midfielder Ryan Clarke in Cairns on Sunday night.
The Brownlow Medal favourite finished with a personal season-low 15 possessions as the Lions kicked six of the last seven goals in a late flurry to win by 32 points.
It came just days after Fagan shone the light on perceived unfair treatment that Neale gets from opponents.
Jarryd Lyons, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Hugh McCluggage and Dayne Zorko all helped the Lions overrun Sydney in the final quarter.
“We’re certainly not a midfield that’s reliant on just Lachie to play well,” Fagan said.
“We love it when he plays well, but we’ve shown all year that at times when he gets stopped, which is not very often, we’ve got other guys that can step up to the mark.”
Fagan said the previous week Neale had finished the win over Gold Coast with “lots of bruises and scratches on his body”.
But the coach had no major qualms with the constant physical treatment from Clarke or his Sydney teammates.
“I thought that was probably the case last week but I thought tonight there was nothing done that wasn’t within the rules,” Fagan said.
“They gave him some attention and bumped him a lot, but it was fair and square.”
Brisbane’s 11.7 (73) to 6.5 (41) win saw them lock up a top-two spot ahead of a meeting with Carlton in round 18.
The ladder position guarantees the Lions two home finals at the Gabba, which will also host the grand final on October 24.