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“I think that’s wrong”: The stats and facts that prove 2024 isn’t do-or-die for Lions


Daniel Hoyne believes 2024 isn’t do-or-die for the Brisbane Lions, explaining the history that will relieve a load off coach Chris Fagan.

A 0-3 start to 2024 for the Lions – a club boasting a list that fell four points short of last year’s premiership – has raised eyebrows about Brisbane’s prospects for the season.

David King told SEN’s Crunch Time on Saturday of the Lions: “I think they’ll look back at 2023 and think, ‘that was our year’.”

But Hoyne, Champion Data’s competitions analysis boss, says history tells a different story.

Breaking down the Lions’ slow start by the numbers, Hoyne believes Fagan can turn it around given his primary problems are scores from defensive stoppages and a lack of presence on the ground inside 50, both of which he says can be rectified.

But he believes that even if the Lions splutter their way through 2024 and fail to make finals, watch out in 2025.

“0-3 and with a pretty hard draw to come, there isn’t room for error to actually make top four, and you probably have to make top four to win (the premiership),” Hoyne admitted on SEN’s Sportsday.

“But like I said with Carlton last year at the halfway mark, don’t waste the year. Think of Melbourne in 2020 when they got their backend going and the year after they won it. Carlton are in the same conversation this year.

“Go back over the last 20 years, there have been five premiers who have had a year that has just come out of nowhere where it’s been a really disappointing year… when it looked like they were cherry ripe but then they’ve bounced immediately to win a flag.

“Think of Collingwood in 2021. They finished second last, no one saw that coming. Two years later they won a flag and the year before made a prelim.

“Hawthorn in 2009/2010, no one saw that coming. Then they went on their run for four or five years. Geelong in 2006, no one saw that coming, then they win three of the next five flags.

“No one saw Melbourne’s 2019 season coming. Two years later, they win a flag. 2016 for Richmond, no one saw that coming. They got on to win three of the next four flags.”

Hoyne also insists the makeup of Brisbane’s list points to it remaining competitive for some time to come.

“I keep hearing this is Brisbane’s year to win it,” Hoyne added.

“Brisbane’s list is in really, really good shape and you think of next year, they get Keidean Coleman back, they get Tom Doedee back, you get Will Ashcroft for a full season and get his brother (Levi) in the draft, who’s going to be a top four or top five pick this year,” he continued

“Their best players are in the prime of their career and will be in the prime of their career next year. So I’m not writing this year off, but the conversation around, ‘if they don’t win it this year, that’s it’, I think that’s wrong.

“You just have to go back and see that quite often, a team like this has a season where nothing works and everything goes wrong, but then you bounce because you’ve still got the profile in good shape.”

The Lions won one of their opening three games in 2021 and the same record last year before going on to push Collingwood all the way in the Grand Final.

Since Fagan took the helm in late 2016, Brisbane has only missed the finals on two occasions - 2017 and 2018.

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