This time last year Dale Tapping would have been wrapping up the season and preparing to go on holidays with his family.

In 2019 the midfield coach is instead preparing for the Lions first Finals appearance in a decade. Next Saturday night, at home at the Gabba, they will meet Richmond.

“That’s why we play. This time of the year is the best time to be playing,” Tapping told

“Fundamentally it’s another game of footy, it’s more the consequences off the back of it that adds more pressure.”

Tapping said the coaches believed the Lions’ performance against Richmond in Round 23 was positive. The team had not met the Tigers for 498 days, since Round 4’s 2018’s thrashing at the MCG.

“Our performance was better than the previous time we were there…that was great exposure for our boys and good preparation for the Finals,” he said.

They will meet them again in just over a week’s time, with plenty to work on before then.

“I think the learning for us is that you’ve got to be right on from the start against a quality opponent,” he said.

“You can’t give them a head start … and it was probably the start that was the difference.”

The Lions were unfamiliar playing at the MCG, having only played their once earlier this season and once in 2018. But the Tigers have not been at The Gabba since Round 4, 2017.

Tapping said this is not likely to affect their performance.

“They’ve got a lot of experience and I’m sure they’ll adapt,” he said.