Lions coach Chris Fagan has fired back at suggestions Brisbane’s AFL premiership hopes are doomed without star defender Harris Andrews.
With Andrews on the sidelines for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury, doubts have been raised over the Lions’ chance of winning their first flag since 2003.
But ahead of Wednesday’s QClash, an agitated Fagan said the Lions were not a one-man band.
“It’s not a massive blow,” Fagan said.
“We’re a team, not the Harris Andrews Football Club.
“Yes he’s an important player but we’ve got other guys who can play the role. He’s a defender, but we defend as a team.
Fagan was armed with statistics of the Lions’ record without Harris.
“Harris has missed six games in my time here at the club … guess what? We’ve won five of those and the other one we lost it by less than a goal,” he said.
“So we look forward to whoever takes Harris’ place stepping up and we know that the rest of team will in his absence, and we’re very hopeful that he’ll be back and available for us at some stage later in the year.
“But … we’re not a one-man team. We never have been, we never will be. We build a system that relies on 22 players playing their roles week in, week out and that‘s what we’ll continue to do.
“Our pressure’s a very good part of our game. It’s one of the reasons we haven’t had a lot of scores kicked against us.
“Is that all because of Harris Andrews? Not on your life. It‘s because as a team we (put) a lot of pressure on the opposition and force them to make errors with the ball.”
Jack Payne has been named as Andrews’ replacement in one of three changes to Brisbane’s team.
Fit-again ruckman Archie Smith returns for the injured Tom Fullarton, while Lincoln McCarthy is back from a one-game ban to replace veteran Grant Birchall, who has been rested due to the condensed schedule.
Fagan also hit back at critics of the Lions’ low-scoring efforts to win recent matches.
They scored just 42 points in beating Collingwood last Friday at the Gabba, with five of their six goals for the match coming in the second quarter.
That came after scores of 50 and 53 respectively to beat St Kilda and North Melbourne respectively.
“Last week we were playing Collingwood who are the best defensive team in the AFL. It was more of grinding sort of game,” Fagan said.
“The previous two weeks … we didn’t kick accurately for goal. In terms of shots, we’re getting plenty of shots, so it’s not like that’s dried up.
“I’m not concerned about that at all. It’s more an accuracy issue than a shot-on-goal issue.”