The Brisbane Lions have further incentive to deliver coach Chris Fagan a win in his 100th game in charge of the club with the match being played in Tasmania.
Fittingly, Fagan will celebrate his milestone in his home state after the AFL moved Saturday’s North Melbourne-Lions battle from Marvel Stadium to Hobart’s Blundstone Arena due to border restrictions and fans being unable to attend matches in Melbourne.
“(An) extra little bit of love for him in front of friends and family – it’d be great for him,” said veteran Lions defender and Fagan’s fellow Tasmanian Grant Birchall.
“It’s a great story. Hopefully, we can put in a great performance for him.
“He’s a really loved figure around the footy club, and it’d be great to get a result for him.”
Birchall, a four-time premiership winner with Hawthorn, also spent time with Fagan at the Hawks when the Lions coach was “right-hand man” to master mentor Alastair Clarkson.
“He was always a deep thinker, coming up with ideas, different strategies … and I’m just glad to see him be a senior coach. He always wanted to be a coach,” Birchall said.
Chris Fagan chalks up 100 matches in charge of the Lions this weekend. Picture: Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
A premiership would be the ultimate reward for Fagan, who has turned the Lions from easybeats to flag contenders in his 4½ years at the club.
“To transform the club after being at the bottom for such a long period of time, it would be an amazing story, but we can’t focus on that sort of stuff, we’ve got to focus on the small things,” Birchall said.
“We’re well aware of what we need to do to really leapfrog in this second half of the year so we’re fresh and ready to go.”
The Lions are fourth on the ladder with eight wins from 12 matches.
“After being one (loss) and three (wins) to be eight and four at the halfway mark’s a pretty good effort, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Birchall said.
And that starts with beating the last-placed Kangaroos, who are coached by the Lions’ former football manager David Noble.
“He obviously knows us quite well,” Birchall said of Noble.
“They’ve played really well in Tassie over the last five or six weeks, so it’s not going to be an easy game. They’ll be up for the challenge.”
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