The Roar
The Roar


A calmer approach for the Lions is paying dividends this September

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Rookie
14th September, 2023

Led by their coach Chris Fagan, there seems to be a sense of calmness around the Brisbane Lions this finals series, more so than in previous campaigns.

Fagan put it on the agenda pre-finals series when he was on the Fox Footy program On the Couch: he declared that this was his team’s best chance yet of winning the premiership.

After appearing in the last four finals series, the Lions bowed out in straight sets twice and have beaten in two preliminary finals.

The Lions ended up finishing sixth heading into the 2022 finals series, due to a dismantling at the hands of Melbourne in round 23. The Elimination final against Richmond was played at a fever pitch.

Joe Daniher kicked the winning goal, after a controversial score review denied the Tigers’ Tom Lynch the sealer. The celebrations post-game featured wild jubilation, led by Fagan who was coaching from the bench at the time.

That was followed by an emotionally charged win against the reigning premiers Melbourne at the MCG. After a spiteful round 23, meeting there was no holding back from either team. The Lions came from 22 points down at half time to record a famous victory – cue wild celebrations from Lions players, coaches and fans.

However, the finals run could only last so long: Geelong crushed Brisbane by 71 points in the preliminary final.

There were positives too take out of it for the Lions, silencing the talk of the poor finals record under Fagan and winning at the MCG for the first time since 2014.


It was also the first time since 2004 that the Lions had won two games in the same final’s series, which has held them in good stead for this current campaign.

Charlie Cameron celebrates.

Charlie Cameron celebrates. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

A major difference between this finals series and last years is the assuredness amongst the whole group. The Lions’ qualifying final victory against Port Adelaide was a really mature victory – they fought back when the Power got ahead in the second quarter, and then the third quarter onslaught was something to behold as ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ blared out around the Gabba.

There was a sense of composure, typified by Fagan’s post-match press conference: he kept things calm, and you could see he was confident with how his team is performing.

Unlike in previous finals victories at the Gabba, where every game was built up as a huge event, they then celebrated accordingly. The players have matured and they’re not making as big a deal out of a singular finals victory, which can only be a good thing.

Players – the likes of Hugh Mccluggage, Jarrod Berry, Cam Rayner and Zac Bailey – were inexperienced when the Lions started playing in finals. They have a better understanding of finals atmosphere, and are a lot calmer when it comes to the big moments in games.


A preliminary final against either Melbourne or Carlton will be a tough game. However, it feels that after two defeats at this stage, the Lions are in as good a position as they’ve ever been to take that next step.