AFL has never been so even for Lions coach

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan says he's never seen an even AFL competition like this year.
Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan says he's never seen an even AFL competition like this year.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has labelled the AFL the most even he's ever seen heading into Saturday's derby with Gold Coast.

The Lions are aiming to bounce back after consecutive defeats to St Kilda and Richmond put a dent in their top-four ambitions.

The visit of the Suns at the Gabba is far from a walk in the park however, with Stuart Dew's team having posted wins over the Tigers and GWS before a competitive display against the Western Bulldogs last weekend.

Fagan says those results and his team's recent setbacks just highlight how tight the whole AFL competition is in 2021.

"You're looking at it now and Collingwood are winning games, North Melbourne are winning games and so are Hawthorn and so are the Gold Coast Suns, it's a really even competition," the 60-year-old said.

"You tend to think that the top sides should win every week and the bottom sides should lose every week but that's not how the comp is.

"I've never seen it more even.

"For us to go through a period after being one-and-three to win 10 and lose three I think that's pretty solid form and even in our losses we've been in those games up to our necks."

The Lions are enjoying a week of relative normality after a month of bouncing from state to state and venue to venue amid Australia's changing COVID landscape.

They also welcome back rugged midfielder Jarrod Berry in a boost to their injury-hit lineup as they chase a sixth-straight win over their Queensland rivals.

The Suns head up the M1 with injury concerns of their own with Nick Holman and Brandon Ellis both picking up injuries in the 11-point loss to the Bulldogs.

"They're improving and they have been improving for a few years now, it's just that sometimes it doesn't happen as quickly as what everyone thinks it should," Fagan said of the Suns.

"I have total respect for what Dewie and those guys are doing down there."

Australian Associated Press