BRISBANE “won’t let the grass grow” as it searches to improve, with coach Chris Fagan saying his team can learn plenty from the way Patrick Dangerfield and Geelong has grown from disappointment.
The Lions were humbled by 40 points in Saturday night’s preliminary final, winding up a season that saw them go one week further than 2019 but fall one step short of a home Grand Final.
LIONS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
On the way to his post-match media conference Fagan crossed paths with Dangerfield on the Gabba turf, stopping to speak with the Cats’ superstar for a good two minutes.
His message was simple.
“I just wished him all the best for next week,” Fagan said.
“As much as we’re disappointed about losing, it’s good to see players like him get the opportunity to play in a Grand Final.
“He’s been through four preliminary final losses himself.
“That’s part of the process of becoming a really good footy club, to taste disappointment and grow from it.
“That’s how you grow. That’s what we’ve been doing for four years at this club.”
Fagan took the Lions’ coaching reins at the end of 2016, finishing last (with five wins) the following year, then 15th, then losing a semi-final last year and a preliminary final this year.
“We’re on the right track,” he said.
“We’ve had a fantastic year and it didn’t finish the way we wanted it to, but that’s what happens when you get down to the last four.
“You face disappointment sometimes. It’s that disappointment that hardens you in the long run.
“It’s a process you have to go through unfortunately, I was hoping we wouldn’t have to.
“We met a team tonight that’s lost a lot of preliminary finals and they desperately wanted to get into a Grand Final and they showed that in the way they played tonight and all credit to them, I thought that was a brilliant performance by Geelong.”
Brisbane was belted around the contest in the opening quarter, with the Cats winning contested possession by 18 and clearances by 11.
Although the Lions arrested the momentum, they struggled to gain ascendency.
Fagan said they already had an eye on next season.
“We’ll obviously pretty keen to get Joe Daniher to our club, we think he can help,” he said.
“We’re already in the business of improving for next year.
“We won’t let the grass grow under our feet.”
Darcy Gardiner was a game-day omission, with Fagan saying the rugged defender had some bone bruising on his knee from a training mishap that restricted him to 85 per cent.
The Lions’ coach said his young team had a big pre-season ahead of it, needing to add some size to their smaller frames to match the more experienced teams.
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“We’re sad tonight and we’re hurting tonight,” Fagan said.
“We’ve got to be realistic about these things.
“Success doesn’t happen overnight, not usually, it’s rare.
“We’ve got to take our medicine and learn.
“We’re starting to become a really reliable team. That’s progress, that’s important.
“You’ve just got to keep knocking on the door to give yourself a chance.”