Lions closer to claiming big-game scalp
Sunday, August 06, 2017 - 11:31 PM

 - from afl.com.au

IT WAS a brave effort from the Brisbane Lions, with last year's 17th-placed side going down to the Western Bulldogs by just 14 points.

The Lions fought back from a 30-point deficit in the first quarter to hold the lead until halfway through the last term, the reigning premiers eventually overrunning the young Lions.

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan feels a big win is just around the corner.

"We had our chances in the last quarter, just didn't have that composure to take our chances and keep the scoreboard pressure on, and they were able to," Fagan said.

"We're getting closer to beating one of those big teams, it'll come if we stick at it.

"I don't know whether to feel happy or unhappy tonight, to be honest."

The Lions, assisted by the Bulldogs' inaccuracy, held their opponents goalless for the second quarter and half of the third, after levelling up the contested possessions.

They were able to get their running game going, switching sides of the ground with ease and slicing open the Bulldogs' defence.

"We're starting to get some speed into our team, which I think will be an asset for us going forward," Fagan said.

"I thought at times in the second and third quarter it was a bit too helter-skelter, I would have liked us to mix the pace of the ball movement up a bit.

"But generally speaking we're developing an offence that will challenge teams, we just need to keep working away at getting better defensively."

The Lions were efficient in attack, finishing with 26 scoring shots from 37 inside-50s, but Fagan said it's an area that needs improvement.

"We went down by 14 or 15 in the centre-bounce clearances tonight, so that accounts for a lot of it, you want to get the ball and get it going your way."

Young stars Eric Hipwood, Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage were rested last week for the Lions' trip to Perth against West Coast, and Fagan said while the trio struggled a bit against the Bulldogs, it was the right decision.

"I think it was the right call in order for them to run the season out, but what you find sometimes with young blokes, they miss not playing the game from a touch perspective.

"I thought Eric, Berry and Hugh McCluggage were a little bit fumbly, their skills were a little bit off tonight, but still happy with that decision because they'll run the season out better after not going to Perth last week."

It wasn't great news on the injury front for the Lions, with impressive first year players Cedric Cox (rolled ankle) and Alex Witherden (possible hamstring injury) finishing the game on the bench.

Fagan said the two may require scans on Monday.


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