Jordan De Goey dari Collingwood diskors selama tiga pertandingan karena menabrak Elijah Hewett

How the Lions are approaching their first AFL grand final week in 19 years

Experienced Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan wants his side to “embrace and enjoy” the hype that comes with the build-up to the grand final, as they get ready to face Collingwood.

Key points:

The Lions beat the Blues 11.13 (79) to 9.9 (63) in their preliminary final
They have not contested an AFL grand final since 2004
Fagan wants his players to enjoy the build-up to the season decider

The Lions are through to their first AFL grand final since 2004, having fought back to beat Carlton 11.13 (79) to 9.9 (63) at the Gabba on Saturday night.

This week, Fagan worked out he had been in the coaches’ box for 44 finals matches and part of four premierships with Hawthorn.

Unless former Hawk Jack Gunston is recalled for the grand final at the MCG next Saturday, Josh Dunkley will be only premiership player in the Lions squad.

Dunkley played for the Western Bulldogs when they won the 2016 flag.

“There’s lots of different things that happen,” Fagan said of grand final week.

“You’ve just [got] to embrace them and enjoy them, understand it won’t be normal.”

Fagan also highlighted the crowd at a grand final was something his side needed to be prepared for when they take on the Magpies.

“The grand final crowd’s a different crowd from the normal crowd,” he said.

“A lot of people with different allegiances. What I’m hoping is those that don’t barrack for Collingwood get on the Lions bandwagon and barrack for us.”

Lions star Josh Dunkley has previously won a grand final with the Bulldogs.(Getty Images: AFL Photos/Russell Freeman)

The Blues kicked the first five goals in Saturday night’s preliminary final, with the Lions dominated at the centre bounce and lucky not to trail by more if not for some stoic defence.

After finding a way back against the Blues, Fagan was confident the Lions could handle the pressure of the grand final.

“We have worked really hard from all those occasions where we didn’t play in the manner we’d like to in some of the big games and it’s been building,” Fagan said.

“We’ve never really shied away from it.

“I know I stick up for my blokes like a mad man sometimes, but internally we’ve always dealt with our issues and weaknesses.

“It all came together, because we weren’t in a good spot at quarter time.”




Author: Russell White