Lions must learn lessons fast for 2020 success

The Brisbane Lions have been in strong form of late but once again their goal-kicking issues could be the reason they miss out on the title come the business end of the season.

Having enjoyed a run of three victories on the spin, the Lions saw their winning momentum brought to a shuddering halt as they suffered a thumping 82-41 defeat at the hands of the Richmond Tigers.

Granted, the reigning champions Richmond are a quality side, who have enjoyed an 11-year AFL winning run over the Lions, but it was the manner of the defeat that once again exposed the fundamental flaws that Brisbane senior coach Chris Fagan is desperate to rectify.

Captain Dayne Zorko after the match admitted his team must be much more clinical in front of the sticks and it’s something they will have to work on over the coming months.

“It’s really disappointing. I want to apologise to our fans that had to watch that because a lot of those goals were relatively easy I would’ve thought,” he commented.

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Injuries have certainly not helped the Lions’ cause in recent weeks and seeing No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner join the list of walking wounded is the last thing Fagan will have wanted.

Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester have endured time on the physio’s table and the potential loss of Rayner to a hamstring injury for some weeks is another blow.

Fagan and Zorko will be looking to work on being more clinical inside 50 but they will also be talking up the positives that have taken Brisbane towards the top of the AFL Premiership ladder.

Wins over the GWS Giants, Melbourne Demons and Essendon Bombers will have boosted confidence but that defeat in Round 10 may have instilled doubts in the Lions’ camp.

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But all is not lost and while the city’s A-League side Brisbane Roar are 12/1 for the title in the football betting, the Lions are still in with a strong claim in the Premiership this season.

It was 2003 when the Lions, in their current form, managed to win the last of their three Premiership crowns.

This term, it could well be the club’s young guns that finally end the wait for a title, with the likes of rookie Matt Eagles looking to get game time.

Fellow youngsters Sam Skinner, Connor Ballenden and Jack Payne have also been getting minutes out on the field and these fresh legs could be vital come the business end of the season.

What these young men will need is to see the team’s veterans step up and lead by example in the coming weeks.

The duo of Rich and Grant Birchall are set to come back into the side and their experience can only be a positive for the Lions, along with the return of key forward Dan McStay.

That will be essential if the recent blip at the start of August against Richmond does not become something more concerning for Fagan and his team going forward.

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