The wooden spoon may yet land at Brisbane but Lions coach Chris Fagan says their AFL ladder position will be “irrelevant” after already rating his first year at the helm a success.
Fagan said the Lions would bounce into the 2018 pre-season full of confidence, even if they go down to North Melbourne in Saturday’s Gabba clash and finish last.
Brisbane can finish as high as 15th with their sixth win of the year but Fagan believed they had already achieved something that couldn’t be measured on a points table this year — self belief.
“The finishing position on the ladder is irrelevant,” Fagan said.
“It is where you are at the end of the season and how you have improved, and we clearly have.”
Fagan admitted it was a very different situation when he arrived late in 2016 along with football manager David Noble.
“When myself and David turned up here last year there probably wasn’t a lot of belief around the club for whatever reason but that has changed now,” he said.
“Our players really think that they can compete and make progress.”
Fagan admitted he didn’t want the season to end after Brisbane had notched a 4-7 tally since the round 11 bye, including near misses against Western Bulldogs and Melbourne.
Either way Fagan believed Brisbane had plenty of momentum going into the 2018 pre-season, even if they ended up with the dreaded spoon.
“We may or may not be (last) after tomorrow’s game but in the second half of the season we are far from the bottom team,” Fagan said.
“We were in the first half, the ladder told us that.
“But if you do a ladder from round 12 it is a pretty different story.
“It’s good that we are getting to the end of the year and feeling positive about ourselves, that we have grown as a team and a club.”
Meanwhile, Fagan cleared Dayne Zorko to play North despite the star midfielder spending time in hospital with a leg infection after last Sunday’s loss to the Demons.
“He spent a bit of time in hospital this week, was on antibiotics, on a drip but got out middle of the week — he’ll play tomorrow,” Fagan said.
Eric Hipwood (knee) is in doubt.
The Kangaroos will hope to celebrate defender Scott Thompson’s 200th game with their seventh win in nine games against Brisbane.