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There's pressure on for spots

Michael Whiting,  April 5, 2017 3:10 PM

THE BRISBANE Lions have been a pleasant surprise in the opening fortnight of the season, but coach Chris Fagan is far from satisfied.

The Lions have upset Gold Coast and then led Essendon early in the final quarter before running out of legs and losing by 27 points.

This all with an almost identical team to that which struggled to win three games in 2016 and barely avoid the wooden spoon.

But there are already two words Fagan wants stamped out of the Lions' vocabulary – honourable losses.

Speaking ahead of playing St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Fagan said the players were just as disappointed as the coaches with blowing the Bombers game.

"We believe that's a game we had opportunities to win and we didn't take that opportunity," he said.

"We're not going to be satisfied with honourable losses, that is a trap and it's not a trap we're going to fall for.

"Our players were extremely disappointed after the game. They were even more disappointed on Monday when I showed them the vision from the game and the opportunities we missed, particularly when we got a couple of points in front."

Fagan said he was pleased with the intent of his team in the opening two rounds, and it now presented some selection headaches ahead of playing the Saints.

Josh Schache (four goals) and draftees Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry were impressive NEAFL performers in a win over premiers Sydney at the weekend and are pushing hard for inclusion.

Match Report: NEAFL win over Sydney

"You’ve got to look at players' performance, not just on Saturday night, but over the JLT Series and all of that," Fagan said.

"There's that competitive tension for spots in the side.

"There's certainly five or six players in line for selection. 'Shack' is certainly one of those.

"It's exciting for the footy club that we've actually got pressure on for spots.

"We'll probably decide tomorrow which way we'll go."