Another straight-sets exit looms for Brisbane
Adelaide: Brisbane are licking their wounds after losing a fourth final from five starts, compounded by injuries to key players.
The Lions started well against Melbourne in Saturday night’s qualifying final but fell away after forward Dan McStay was subbed out with concussion following a collision with teammate Nakia Cockatoo in the first quarter.
McStay will become the first player automatically ruled out of a final under the AFL’s new concussion protocols, which were brought in ahead of this season.
Lions coach Chris Fagan also admitted defenders Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner and Grant Birchall were all sore after gruelling seasons, but should still play in Saturday’s semi-final at the Gabba.
Brisbane will need to defeat the Western Bulldogs to avoid a second straight-sets exit from the finals in the last three seasons.
But Fagan is backing his attacking Lions outfit to respond after most of the 22 had off nights against the Demons.
“I’ve been at various clubs who have finished top four and lost that first final and been able to bounce back,” Fagan said.
“We always tend to overreact to the team that loses that qualifying final and then think the elimination final winner is in great form.
“What we’ve got to do is turn our minds towards next week and get ourselves ready and not lament too much on what happened, not over-review it.
“We’ve been the best offence in the competition this year, we don’t just jump off the ship with one poor performance.”
While the majority of the team had poor nights, Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and electric forward Charlie Cameron could not have played much better.
Neale broke the record for most possessions in any finals game, collecting 46 to smash the previous mark of 43 set by former Collingwood champion Dane Swan in 2011.