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Finals not Fagan’s focus

Finals not Fagan’s focus

THE F-word isn’t to be murmured at the Gabba as Brisbane coach Chris Fagan continues to strike a balance between the short and long-term interests of the AFL club.

The Lions are 7-5 and well within reach of their first top-eight finish since 2009.

A win at Marvel Stadium against St Kilda on Saturday would certainly help the cause, while also snap a run of three momentum-stalling road losses for the side.

While Fagan says playing finals “has always been the goal” he insists it’s not a topic in weekly meetings, just as it wasn’t during his time in the football department at powerhouse club Hawthorn.

“We’ve certainly talked about winning on the road and that’s what great teams do,” he said.

“It does make getting into finals a little bit easier.

“I’ve spent a lot of time at Hawthorn and we didn’t talk about winning finals, we just talked about improving the whole time.

“If you do … then eventually you become a team that wins finals.”

Fagan said an emphasis on the post-season tended to encourage “fearful” football.

The coach pointed to a last-start loss to Carlton a fortnight ago – when they led by as many as 37 points – as an example of what happens when you get ahead of yourself.

“If you focus on the big picture too much, focus on result, it can lead you to play a little bit fearful,” he said.

“Focus on process; that’s fearless, (because) you don’t think too much about the big picture.

“We had Carlton close to on the ropes I thought, mucked up some golden opportunities and it opened the door.

“That was certainly a little learning from that game.”

Fagan has chopped and changed at the selection table this season and says he’s “still learning what his best team looks like”.

“Whilst we want to do as well as we can this season we’re still playing the long game,” he said.

“It’ll be a mixture of all those things, but by and large we’ll try and pick the best team we can to win the game we’re playing.”

© AAP 2019