Youth policy out as Lions chase wins
BRISBANE will not change its selection strategy over a tough final month with the potential for wins remaining the priority over development opportunities for young players.
Some sides that are well outside finals calculations use the last month to get games into the younger players they hope will take the step to being regulars in the senior side the following year.
And while no one admits it, the bonus is of course that they protect their draft standing if the younger sides fail to win games.
The Lions play North Melbourne, Collingwood, Gold Coast and West Coast over the final month.
While on current form the Kangaroos and Suns loom as winnable games, they would be rank outsiders against premiership contenders in the Eagles and Pies.
But coach Chris Fagan said he placed great value on a strong finish to the season and would go into every selection meeting looking for the best chance to secure four points.
While the club was always looking for opportunities to develop their younger players, he said making them earn senior selection was still the best thing for them in the long run.
"I wouldn't say the thinking will be any different, we will pick our best team each week,'' he said.
"If the young blokes give us the best chance of winning then they will be in but we will be picking our side on merit.
"We look to give our young players an opportunity but they have to earn it, we won't be giving any games away and I don't think we have done that all year.''
After an exciting month that yielded three wins and a close five-point loss to Adelaide, the Lions were brought back to earth with a 42-point loss to the Cats in Geelong on Saturday.
Fagan believes the margin does not quite accurately portray the gap between the two sides on the day.
Brisbane's senior players Dayne Beams, Dayne Zorko and Luke Hodge led the way and Darcy Gardiner continues his stellar run of form but there was a dip from the younger players from previous weeks who were outmuscled by Geelong's bigger bodies.
Brisbane were well in the contest and had the chance to be a couple of goals up at half-time but for simple misses from straight in front to Jarrod Berry and Dan McStay.
Instead the Cats kicked five goals in almost the same number of minutes either side of half-time to break the game open.
"In terms of effort it was all there, their experience and bigger bodies got us and we wasted a few chances,'' Fagan said.
"We have only got ourselves to blame.''