Lions coach moves to hose down hype
BRISBANE Lions coach Chris Fagan insists his club doesn't necessarily need to finish in the top eight for 2019 to be considered a pass mark.
With a young, talented list that showed promising signs throughout 2018, there's been ample external hype around the Lions over the off-season.
Gun midfielder Dayne Zorko declared on Monday that the playing group felt it had the potential to feature in September for the first time since 2009.
Star recruit Lachie Neale also declared to Brisbane was closer to a premiership than old side Fremantle.
But Fagan said making finals wouldn't define Brisbane's 2019 campaign.
"No I don't think we need to make the eight this year. We just need to continue to improve," Fagan said on Tuesday.
"The thing that's important in terms of the goals you set around the season is what the players think they can do - and the one thing I'm pleased about with our group is they think they're capable of a fair bit more than what they were able to do last year.
"How many wins that turns into? I'm not sure. But we've raised the bar and we want to do better than we did last season."
The Lions finished 2018 with a 5-17 record, yet five of those losses were decided by seven points or less.
While Fagan hasn't implemented any late-game scenario training over the off-season yet, he said the additions of Neale, Lincoln McCarthy, Jarryd Lyons and Marcus Adams would some "steel and experience to our group".
"Our biggest problem last year, even in the close wins, was that we had a poor record in first quarters, particularly in the first half of the year … that's more of a mindset when you first get into games and a little bit of experience. I think we'll keep stepping forward in that regard," he said.
Fagan said one of the team's short-term goals was to end several current losing streaks against rival clubs.
"We've only beaten around five or six different sides over the last two years, so certainly one of our aims will be to beat some of those sides that have been able to clean Brisbane up for the last so many years," he said.
"We got close to doing it a number of times last year and from that the boys have got a little bit more belief in themselves, which is an important thing when they're young."