Brisbane Pounces into First AFL Grand Finale Since 2004 under Calm and Trusting Fagan

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Chris Fagan, the esteemed mentor of Brisbane, owes his team’s successful stride into their first AFL grand finale since 2004, to an evolved approach marked by greater “relaxation” and a profound “trust” in his coaching personnel.

Barely falling short of the decider in the recent years of 2020 and the preceding, the Lions have displayed a remarkable rally, flawlessly navigated to slot them on the last Saturday of September.

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In the complex tapestry of Brisbane’s impressive evolution, from the ignoble “wooden spooners” of 2017 to the proud grand finalists of the present, Fagan’s influence is pivotal. Notably, he amended his team management strategies, ensuring the trajectory of progress remained unperturbed.

Dayne Zorko, the long-serving Lions veteran, acknowledged the coach’s transformation. “There’s been an noticeable ease about him this year, allowing other coaches to assume operational commands and express greater confidence in the intelligence they deliver,” he commented. The modification, he thought, enhanced Fagan’s coaching style rather noticeably.

This was not to imply that Fagan’s coaching style necessitated major modifications. His deep caring nature, often embodying a “father figure”, already had the love and respect of the players. “He prioritizes the person before the player – that approach often yields positive outcomes,” Zorko explained.

Fagan’s composure amidst the upheaval caused by allegations against him in the Hawthorn historical racism scandal also garnered praise from Zorko. “He’s endured an arduous span of 13 months, setting aside many issues to present a brave face to us and coach us the way he has,” the ex-Lions captain said. “His exceptional leadership of the club inspires us to perform well in the upcoming grand final against Collingwood,” he added.

Lachie Neale, the Lions co-captain and dual Brownlow medallist, mirrored Zorko’s regard for Fagan. “Securing a premiership for Fagan would mean everything to me, my team, and the club. He’s weathered many storms in the past year, but his journey from a teacher to an AFL grand finale coach is extraordinary. He’ll be my lifetime friend and I deeply cherish him,” Neale expressed.

However, in a characteristic humble refuge, Fagan diverted the attention from himself towards the collective efforts of the club for this grand event. “The grand finale isn’t about me. It’s a reward for everyone at the club, including the players, the staff, and every individual who tirelessly worked towards this aim. It’s indeed been a journey from being the underdogs to, now five years straight, fiercely competitive challengers,” concluded the Lions coach.