A top-four spot remains their goal, but the Brisbane Lions are confident they can win the AFL premiership from anywhere in the top eight.
Successive losses to St Kilda and Richmond have led to the Lions falling to fifth on the ladder heading into Saturday’s QClash against the Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba.
The Lions also lost back-to-back matches to start to the season before rebounding with a run of eight wins from their next nine games to get their season back on track.
A similarly strong run over the final quarter of the season should be enough to secure a top-four berth, which brings with it a double chance in the finals.
However, Brisbane midfielder Zac Bailey is certain the Lions – who have won 11 of their 17 matches this season – can defy the odds by winning the flag from the bottom half of the top eight,
Since the introduction of the top-eight finals system in 2000, only one team, the Western Bulldogs, have won the premiership from outside the top four, clinching the flag in 2016 from seventh spot.
“We believe we can go all the way from anywhere in the eight,” Bailey said.
“We don’t feel like we need to be in the top four to go all the way.
“We’ve been able to be consistent over the last two years and match it with the best teams, so we don’t feel like being in the bottom four (of the top eight) is going to have any effect on that.”
Bailey said the Lions had a “point to prove” after consecutive losses.
“It was a pretty disappointing two weeks … and also dropping out of the top four,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot to play for in the next couple of weeks.”
Bailey was confident some home truths delivered in a team meeting following last Friday’s loss to Richmond would have the Lions back to their best against the Suns.
“We realised that most of the mistakes are fixable. We gave away a lot of opportunities and they (Richmond) went down the other end and scored,” he said.
“We can fix it and we can get back to playing our best footy. We know our best footy stands against any team.”
In good news for the Lions, Bailey said Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale trained well on Thursday after sending a scare through the Brisbane camp when he injured his shoulder at Tuesday’s training session.
“Lachie’s travelling fine. He should be right to go by Saturday,” he said.