Charlie Cameron celebrates a goal during the Gather Round match between Brisbane and North Melbourne at Norwood Oval in R4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan believes star small forward Charlie Cameron is about to break free from his slow start to the season.

Speaking at Brisbane Airport before flying south for Thursday night's blockbuster against Melbourne at the MCG, Fagan shed some light on why he thought the two-time All-Australian might have been slightly below his usual high standards.

The coach said Cameron's head clash with Trent Cotchin in June last year that cost the Lion his front teeth had had ongoing complications.

"I haven't talked about this until this point in time, but Charlie had a really interrupted pre-season with tooth surgery," Fagan said.

"Remember when he got his teeth knocked out last year?

"He had to have a series of procedures and operations across the pre-season that saw him miss a lot of training.

"Then on the eve of the season he got the flu and missed four or five days of training."


Cameron has not been as sharp around goal as usual, kicking five goals in four games and lacking the confidence he usually exudes.

However, Fagan says he's seen some signs from the 29-year-old in the past week that give him great belief ahead of facing the Demons.

"A little bit last week and definitely this week, his buzz and energy and fitness and feel for the game is back," he said.

"The last quarter last week there was some really good signs that Charlie was on the way back and I'm expecting him to build on that."

Cameron is part of a forward line that ran itself back into form against North Melbourne last week, but Fagan concedes the Steven May and Jake Lever-led Melbourne outfit is an entirely different proposition.


"A win gives you a little bit of confidence, but we did play a very young, inexperienced North Melbourne team, so we've got to keep it in perspective, but it was a step in the right direction, and we'll find out a bit more tomorrow night to see how we're really going," he said.

"It's the quality of their backline players. They've got a tremendous midfield headed by Gawn, and then you've got Petracca, Viney, Oliver, who are all stars of the game, and if they get on top, their forward line is dangerous.

"They've got some great individual players and a good system as well that suits them.

"I think it's good for us to have that challenge. It seems like a tough one, but I believe in our group, and I think we're on the improve."

Fagan expected full matches out of co-captain Lachie Neale and dynamic half-forward Zac Bailey who have both overcome ankle niggles.