Lincoln McCarthy lies on the field injured during the round eight match between Brisbane and Gold Coast on May 5, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE is staring down the barrel of losing two more players for the season, with Chris Fagan saying Linc McCarthy and Darcy Gardiner have "more than likely" ruptured their ACLs.

The pair left the field early in Sunday's win over Gold Coast on a night of injury mayhem that could have major ramifications for the Lions.

Brandon Starcevich (calf) was ruled out before the first bounce after a warm-up mishap, while Noah Answerth (concussion) missed the final three quarters.


But early indications are McCarthy and Gardiner are unlikely to return in 2024.

When asked whether the duo had ruptured their anterior cruciate ligaments, Fagan was not optimistic.

"More than likely they are," he said.

"When I saw them, they just had that look about them. There's a certain look about ACL injuries, I reckon.

"The doctors pretty much think that'll be the case."


With a public holiday in Brisbane on Monday, both will be scanned on Tuesday.

If the worst possible news is confirmed, it would add to a growing injury list for the Lions.

Running defender Keidean Coleman tore his ACL in the Opening Round, Adelaide recruit Tom Doedee did likewise on the eve of playing his first game for the club, while Zac Bailey (ankle) and Cal Ah Chee (hamstring are also currently out of action.

That comes on top of Will Ashcroft (ACL) who is still months away from a return.


Despite the chaos against the Suns, Brisbane totally dominated most of the night, much to the delight of their beaming coach.

"I think it's the most amazing and courageous win I've ever seen, by any group of players I've had anything to do with," Fagan said.

"I'm just so proud of them. They were out on their feet.

"It'll go down in our club as one of our greatest ever wins is what I believe. I don't think you can look at it any other way."


Fagan said the resilience his team showed could be the catalyst for a turnaround in fortunes, regardless of the injury toll.

"It'll do a lot for us," he said.

"We've probably been struggling to find our belief and our confidence this year.

"The record of 2-5 didn't look good, but I didn't think it was as bad as that.

"We'll take a lot of heart from that."


Gold Coast counterpart Damien Hardwick described his team's performance as "frustrating", saying the Suns made it too easy for Brisbane to transition the ball from one end of the ground to the other.

Despite losing a fourth straight game on the road to move to 4-4 overall, the Suns coach was keeping his cool with the bigger picture.

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"I'm eight games in. How smooth did you think it was going to be?" he asked.

"It's going to be up and down. That's the reality of where we're at.

"We just want to keep our head above water until halfway. We'll learn some lessons along the way."


Hardwick said they would beat the teams around them on the ladder, but still had a big gap to the likes of Brisbane, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney, who they have lost to in the past five weeks.

"We know where the gap is, we need to get better," he said.

"We need to start getting off the porch and running with the big dogs. We're not off the porch yet."