Brisbane will be without concussed forward Dan McStay next week, but coach Chris Fagan says he won't be over-reacting to Saturday night's 33-point qualifying final loss to Melbourne.

Fagan said although his team was thoroughly outplayed by the Demons, it had to quickly turn its attention to next weekend's semi-final against either Essendon or the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba.

Brisbane will be forced into at least one change, with McStay knocked out in the opening minutes by an errant knee from teammate Nakia Cockatoo.

"It was a decent hit," Fagan said.

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Fagan Press Conference: Qualifying Final

Chris Fagan was disappointed 'a number of players played below their best in a big final' and confirmed the impact of injury to Dan McStay.

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"Smashed his nose and his face and some concussion, so obviously he won't be able to play next week under the protocols, which is a pity, he's had a really good year."

Fagan said although it took some time to adjust to life without their key forward, it wasn't the reason Brisbane lost.

That came down to Melbourne's superior "hunt", winning the contested possession count by 22, which led to a whopping inside 50 advantage of 68-45.

There was little doubt it played a role though, particularly in the decisive second quarter when Brisbane continually bombed the ball to Jake Lever.

With minimal game time for his reserves players in recent weeks, Fagan said it was unlikely he would change the forward mix too much.

"We've been the best offence in the competition this year, we don't just jump off the ship with one poor performance," he said.

"You tend to back your guys in. We'll obviously have to make a change with Dan McStay going down, so there'll be some tinkering we have to do."

Defender Darcy Gardiner copped a hit to his knee early and looked off the pace, while Grant Birchall was also restricted after half-time with a knee niggle. 

Both played the game out.

Ryan Lester is an "absolute certainty" to be back next week after missing with a tight hamstring, although Callum Ah Chee (groin) is more doubtful.

"I've been at various clubs who have finished top four and lost that first final and been able to bounce back," Fagan said.

"We always tend to over-react to the team that loses that qualifying final and then we'll think the team that wins that elimination final tomorrow is in great form, so we might go to the extreme with both teams.

"We've worked hard for the double chance and we have an opportunity to bounce back next week, whoever we play against.

"Our guys have got a lot of pride in their performance and those that were down tonight will be looking to bounce back."