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A brutal pre-season awaits

Brisbane Lions players have been put on notice ahead of next pre-season with coach Chris Fagan saying he's prepared to ruffle some feathers in order to improve his team. 

Fagan said for the Lions to climb the ladder in 2019 they must hit the ground running when they return to training in November. 

That means more match simulation, and the coach expects it to get some players offside.

"We've got to do as much as we can at training to improve our connection, our synergy," Fagan said.

"The older teams have played a lot of games together and they've matured and understand each other. That's what we're trying to build. 

"We'll probably play seniors versus reserves and that might upset some players but we need time together, playing together."

In the two seasons Fagan has been in charge, Brisbane has been poor before the mid-season bye before a strong finish to the year.

In 2017 the Lions won just once in the first 10 rounds, while this season they lost the first eight matches and won just one of their first 13. 

Both years the Lions finished with five wins, but Fagan said they can't afford to be so slow out of the blocks next year.

"I'm sure if we get some early momentum that would go a long way towards helping that win-loss ratio," he said. 

By most measures – except wins – the Lions improved in 2018, conceding fewer points, improving percentage and having a significantly better inside 50, contested possession and pressure factor differential against their opponent. 

Fagan said he fully expected more pressure on the young Lions to win more games in 2019. 

"We want that pressure to come," he said. 

"It's the first time since I've been at the club where the players genuinely ran out on the ground every week thinking they could win. And were disappointed when they didn't.

"That's genuine progress."

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