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Fagan reminded of dark days as Lions’ flag hopes read ‘last rites’, dropped Saint slammed for selfishness again

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has lamented his side’s horror defeat to Melbourne on Thursday night, saying the 64-point loss was as bad as his team have performed in years.

On top of the ladder coming into the match, the Lions were handed a serious reality check after quarter time, with the Demons kicking six goals to one in the second term to take control of the match.

Speaking after the game, Fagan said the loss ‘takes me back to the first couple of years’ of his time in charge, when the still-building Lions won just 10 of 44 games through 2017 and 2018.

“I didn‘t see it coming,” the coach said.

“It was a promising start… but this game was always going to hinge on who’d win the territory battle – so therefore who wins the contest – and Melbourne won it hands down.

“We should have lost the game by a lot more than we did. We‘re lucky they didn’t kick straight.

“That‘s as bad as we’ve played in a long, long time. That takes me back to the first couple of years. The last three or four years, our losses haven’t been like that.

“A disappointing night for us, but credit to Melbourne, the way that they played. They were on song.”

The Lions’ Thursday night howler has quickly seen the team’s premiership chances take a nosedive, with former great Jason Dunstall saying a loss of that magnitude could ‘sap the very belief of the group’.

“The question now is, do Brisbane have the physical and mental toughness to win a flag? And based on that performance, you’d nearly go down to the rooms and read the last rites, because it just wasn’t there,” Dunstall said on Fox Footy

“When you face these tests, if you put in dismal performances like that, it saps the very belief of the group.

“They’ve got to go to the ‘G if they want to win in September, right? Well they’ve gone there with a big opportunity on top of the table, against a team that’s lost three on the trot, and got spanked.”

Fagan’s attention immediately turns to the Lions’ clash with the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba next Thursday night, saying there was plenty of time to make amends for the shocker.

“It‘s not what you usually get from us… outside of the first quarter we weren’t in the hunt, so it’s terribly disappointing,” he said.

“But it‘s not the end of the world. We get to play again next week, and we get the opportunity of redemption.”

Joe Daniher looks dejected.

Joe Daniher looks dejected after Brisbane’s loss to Melbourne. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

‘Jack plays on Jack’s terms’: Saint slammed for selfishness after shock omission

Former player David King has once again taken St Kilda goalsneak Jack Higgins to task, after the livewire forward was a shock axing from the Saints’ team to take on Sydney.

Despite kicking 19 goals for the season, the second-most at the Saints behind Max King, Higgins has been left out of the 22 in what coach Brett Ratten described as an ‘eight-point game’ against the Swans, with the club making a statement after last week’s upset loss to Essendon.

King, who called for Higgins to be dropped after ignoring a teammate at a crucial moment in their Round 1 loss to Collingwood, has again slammed the former Tiger for selfishness, saying he needs to improve his defensive pressure to be guaranteed a regular AFL spot.

“Jack, as has been pointed out so many times, plays on Jack’s terms. You can accept it or not; that’s the reality,” King said on Fox Footy.

“That brings goals more often than not, but nothing else. No forward pressure and nothing that helps the team win on a weekly basis.

“They’ve let this fester and it’s gotten to a point at Round 15 – it’s deep in the season to be correcting this.”

Higgins is one of three changes to the Saints’ line up to take on the Swans, with defeat likely to leave them outside the top eight should Collingwood defeat GWS on Sunday.

Captain Jack Steele is a welcome return from a shoulder injury, but ruckman Paddy Ryder has been managed, while Bradley Hill will also miss due to personal reasons.

Jack Higgins of the Saints celebrates kicking a goal over Lachlan Keeffe of the Giant.

Jack Higgins of the Saints celebrates kicking a goal over Lachlan Keeffe of the Giant. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Clubs fume as AFL tick off women’s draft amid integrity issues

AFLW teams have engaged in tense discussions with the league, with growing concerns over the integrity of the upcoming draft.

According to News Corp, Victorian clubs have accused interstate rivals of offering incentives to players outside their salary cap, to convince them to nominate for another state.

AFLW draft rules require all players to nominate one state to be drafted to, as opposed to the men’s competition where players can be taken anywhere in the country. This is due to the semi-professional nature of the league, with nearly all players working second jobs alongside their AFLW duties.

However, talented Victorian pair Montana Ham and Sofia Hurley, both expected to be among the top picks in the upcoming draft, have both nominated for the NSW draft pool, leading to concerns that the system is being reported.

“A full pitch to draftees isn’t something you’re supposed to do,” an anonymous club insider told the Herald Sun.

“Then, it’s not a draft.”

However, the AFL has reportedly approved the current system, as well as Ham and Hurley’s moves north, with Ham’s manager saying this week that the decision was ‘a university and lifestyle choice’.

The 2022 AFLW draft will take place on Wednesday night.

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