The Brisbane Lions’ premiership hopes took a major hit on Sunday afternoon, putting the side’s top-four hopes in jeopardy following a stunning come-from-behind victory over Richmond at the MCG.
Brisbane led by 42 points at one stage in the first half but dominated in a dramatic second half that ended in an 11th consecutive loss at the MCG for the Lions, who are yet to win at home. 2014.
Despite the loss, Fagan said the MCG hoodoo remained an external talking point rather than a real event.
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“It was our best performance at the MCG for a long time,” he said after the game.
“It didn’t matter to me but I thought anyone watching the game would have thought it was a fantastic game of football. And we were in it until the end.
“Richmond had a strong team outside of Dustin tonight. They had a lot to play for, like us, trying to push ourselves into the top four, now we’re in a battle, trying to get back into the eight…no effort. It was a good competition from us and them in that regard.
Undermining the Lions’ cause was an injury to Zac Bailey midway through the opening half, forcing Darcy Forte – a striker – to come on as a substitute.
It was a move that raised eyebrows, but one Fagan was very adamant about when asked after the game.
“In hindsight it was the wrong decision to make Darcy a subdivision. It’s probably something I’d rather keep at home, to be honest,” he said.
“I appreciate you asking the question, but we have our reasons, and they’re good reasons, but when we think about tonight, it certainly would have been better to have a running back.”
Speaking on Fox Footy, Dermot Breton said Fagan had every right to be more upset than his side.
“I don’t want to be sitting on one of those wooden chairs in the classroom when Coach Fagan decides to give them a read that he’s seen in the last 60 minutes,” he said.
“Despite being two goals down at three quarters, I felt Brisbane could still settle down. It wasn’t until Rioli bombed over from 55mm that I went, ‘Wow, this is too dangerous for them now’.”
Co-host Nick Dal Santo said the cause of the MCG was no more serious than the second-half collapse.
“Yes, the discussion of the field will arise and I think correctly, but from the point of view of the coaches, it is more condemning and disappointing and the leaders of the football club were not able to close the game in the third quarter, the last quarter,” he said.
“Lachy has had enough of Neale’s football, so my question is what happened and who didn’t?
Because you can’t ask too much from their key forwards, especially in the first half, but it fell quickly and the Tigers were unable to slow down when they were there.
Asked if there were elements of a “bottleneck” in the Lions’ defeat, Dal Santo said: “You’d have to say yes. But how much of a bottleneck, I’m not sure.”
But when you’re up by 42 points, you’re well and truly in control.
“I thought you put it well enough to say it’s not a bottleneck,” Breton added. Richmond went back to their tried and true formula.