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Fagan: The optimism within the group is growing

Scars are starting to heal Chris Fagan can sense the level of optimism amongst the team rising as the season goes on.

Chris Fagan can see the tide turning in Brisbane.

Fagan is just 12 games into his tenure as Lions coach, but says there's an optimism around the Gabba and improvement the footy world is starting to see.

He said the scars players have carried from years of beltings are starting to disappear.

"You can sense their level of optimism as we approach games is quite high," Fagan said.

"They were really disappointed last week when they didn't win the game, which is great to see.

"It means their belief is growing.

"We've got to continue to build confidence, continue to build self-esteem. It takes a little while, but we'll get there in the end."

The Lions have a 2-10 win-loss record, but have shown significant improvement since the mid-season bye.

They demolished Fremantle a fortnight ago, and the 40-point loss against Port Adelaide last Saturday was not reflective of the difference between the teams.

Fagan said, although confessing it might sound silly, the performance against the Power was arguably his team's best of the season.

"What we've always tried to do is improve," he said.

"We know sometimes it doesn't happen in a straight line.

"The thing that's important is that we're improving and I think people can see that.

"We've still got a long way to go, but steps are being taken in the right direction.

"We're getting a fairly consistent line-up, we're starting to use the ball a bit better. The guys are understanding the game plan more, they're becoming more resilient in games (and) I think our leadership has grown a bit."

The Lions face another huge test at the Gabba on Saturday when they host premiership fancies Greater Western Sydney in Heath Shaw's 250th match.

Draftee Alex Witherden will make his debut, but recently re-signed forward Josh Schache will have to wait at least another week to break into the senior team.

Schache was dropped after round eight and has played two matches in the NEAFL, kicking five goals last weekend.

"This is more a partnership between Josh and the coaching group," Fagan said.

"In a sense we want him to make the call when he's ready, and I think he's pretty keen at the moment to build form in the NEAFL and come back into the AFL side on the back of a number of weeks of good form.

"Hopefully he can produce another good one this week and start to make his claims in the next few weeks."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs