In twelve months Senior Coach Chris Fagan took the Lions from 15th on the AFL ladder with five wins, to finishing second with sixteen wins, as well as competing in their first Finals series in a decade.
On Tuesday night his efforts were recognised by his peers, with his fellow AFL coaches voting him as Senior Coach of the Year.
But Fagan is adamant this award belongs to his entire team - Danny Daly, Strategy Coach; Ben Hudson, Ruck/Midfield Coach; Dale Tapping, Midfield Coach; Murray Davis, Backline Coach; Jed Adcock, Forwards Coach; Scott Borlace, Head of Development; Mitch Hahn, NEAFL Coach; Zane Littlejohn, Development Coach and Paul Henriksen, Development Coach.
“I mostly viewed it as a reflection of the good job that our whole coaching group did this year,” Fagan told ‘Dobbo’ on Triple M’s The Rush Hour.
“It’s not any one man, we’ve got 10 assistant coaches and they all play their role.
“We’ve worked pretty hard together over the last three years to improve the footy Club and this year things started to happen, which indicted we’re going in the right direction.
“It’s just good reinforcement for all the coaches involved.”
He said the team’s success in 2019 came down to stability over the past three seasons. During his nine years at Hawthorn, where they won four flags, this proved critical.
“I think the key factor in all that was stability in the playing group and stability in the off field staff,” he said.
“It’s one of those things you’ve got to work at all the time, but so far so good.”
Fagan warned the playing group cannot return in 2020 complacent, having shocked the competition in 2019.
“Everyone has to come back with an attitude to improve,” he said.