Brisbane players look dejected after their Grand Final loss to Collingwood on September 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

RECENT history suggests Brisbane can shake off its Grand Final heartache and go deep in the finals again next season.

Only seven clubs in VFL/AFL history have lost a Grand Final by less than the four points Brisbane was defeated by on Saturday, when Collingwood triumphed to win its 16th premiership.

It was the 18th time in the past century that a team has lost a Grand Final by 10 points or less, but history suggests falling just short of a flag can drive a team to the ultimate success the following year.

Of the five teams this century to lose a Grand Final by 10 points or less, three have gone on to reach the decider the next season, with two winning the premiership.

West Coast wasted little time in getting over the hurt of its four-point loss to Sydney in 2005, turning the tables on the Swans by a point just 12 months later.

Hawthorn also bounced back as quickly as possible from its 10-point loss to the Swans in 2012, winning the flag in each of the next three years.


Of the 17 teams in the past 100 years to lose a Grand Final by 10 points or less, 10 have made at least a preliminary final the following season.

One of the obvious outliers is the Geelong side of 1990, which finished 10th (out of 14 clubs) in the year after its heartbreaking 1989 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn.

Having been at the Hawks for their 2012 loss to the Swans, Lions coach Chris Fagan has seen first-hand how Grand Final disappointment can drive a club forward.

"There's lots of teams in the history of the game that have lost close Grand Finals and have gone on to win premierships in the ensuing years, so that will be my attitude – what can we learn today to make us a better team next year," he said on Saturday.


"We're well and truly in the window, and I think we've only just moved into the window.

"We've just got to make sure we handle this loss well, don't get too upset, don't get too downhearted, use it as a spur to get better.

"There's plenty of history around to say Grand Final losses don't have to define you or destroy you, they can make you. That's what we'll be looking to do."

While a four-point Grand Final loss will no doubt hurt the Lions, spare a thought for the Collingwood sides of the 1960s and 1970s, which lost Grand Finals in 1964 (by four points), 1966 (one point) and 1970 (10 points) but were unable to taste the ultimate success.


The Essendon sides of the 1940s also suffered plenty of heartache, losing Grand Finals in 1943 (by five points) and 1947 (one point) before the 1948 decider ended in a draw, with the Bombers losing the replay by 39 points.

They did, however, celebrate premierships in 1942, 1946, 1949 and 1950.

Losing a GF by 10 points or less in the past century

2018 - Collingwood (lost PF in 2019)
2012 - Hawthorn (won GF in 2013)
2006 - Sydney (lost EF in 2007)
2005 - West Coast (won GF in 2006)
2002 - Collingwood (lost GF in 2003)
1989 - Geelong (finished 10th in 1990)
1979 - Collingwood (lost GF in 1980)
1971 - St Kilda (lost PF in 1972)
1970 - Collingwood (lost SF in 1971)
1968 - Essendon (finished sixth in 1969)
1967 - Geelong (lost PF in 1968)
1966 - Collingwood (lost SF in 1967)
1964 - Collingwood (lost PF in 1965)
1947 - Essendon (lost GF replay in 1948)
1943 - Essendon (lost PF in 1944)
1932 - Carlton (lost SF in 1933)
1925 - Collingwood (lost SF in 1926)