Lions lay down law as finals return nears
BRISBANE had an all-of-club meeting this week to brief every level of the organisation about the upcoming finals.
The Lions wanted to assure everyone that, other than dealing with a major increase in friends and family wanting tickets, it would be business as usual and no one was expected to do any more than the role they had filled all season.
It is what Chris Fagan had been telling his players all year.
While the Lions are planning for a return to September within their four walls of the Gabba, out in public, Fagan continues to offer a straight bat to questions about breaking the 10-year finals drought.
Brisbane is on a four-game winning streak, its best since 2010 - and will go to 11 wins, which could be enough to lock away a September appearance, with a win over North Melbourne at the Gabba Saturday night.
That game looked a certain four points before the bye, after the Lions had comfortably taken care of them in Round 2, but the Roos have become one of the form sides since caretaker Rhyce Shaw took over from Brad Scott.
Fagan said all year he believed the competition had never be more even and he would never allow himself to look beyond his next opponent.
"One game at a time," he said with a laugh to fend off another question about Brisbane's prospects. "It works for us.
"There's no point getting ahead of yourself. We've got a big challenge this weekend and we need to play well in that game.
"If you do a ladder over the last seven weeks, North Melbourne are in the top three or four sides.
"They're playing a tough brand of football North have become famous for, great at contested ball, great at stoppages, and they're not mucking around with the footy, kicking it a bit longer and giving their forwards a chance."
Fagan had no hesitation recalling Hugh McCluggage, Eric Hipwood and Luke Hodge to the side after they missed last Sunday's win against Port Adelaide.
Josh Walker, Ryan Lester and Ben Keays were omitted.
While changing a winning side was difficult, he said the returning trio were clearly in his best 22.
"It's not easy because everyone played their role last week, it was a great team performance," he said.
"The reality is those guys have been high achievers, high performers for us this year and they need to come back in the team."