BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan had started to question whether his young team would get the rewards they deserved this year before a breakthrough win against Fremantle finally arrived on Sunday.
The Lions won in Perth for the first time in eight years when they blitzed the Dockers at Optus Stadium, winning every quarter to notch a 55-point win that Fagan said the club would treasure as it builds.
With the opportunity to go two games clear of last-placed Carlton next week when they host the Blues at the Gabba, Fagan said he hoped the impressive performance against the Dockers would give his team belief in the run home.
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"Winning is the ultimate reinforcement for all the things you're trying to do," the coach said on Sunday.
"I'll be honest, I was starting to worry that at some point in time they weren't going to get the reward they deserved.
"We've always tried to celebrate the little wins over the last 18 months, but every now and then you need that extra boost.
"I'm really pleased for the group. They've worked so hard and they're a really good group to coach. They never give up."
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Sunday's win was the first under Fagan in which the Lions had won every quarter, with the team also winning its first opening term for the season, silencing the Fremantle crowd.
"We really just tried to take the scoreboard back to zero each quarter and tried to win each quarter … so that's really exciting to be able to do that," Fagan said.
"You treasure the wins over here because you know how hard they are to get, so for this young group to do that it should help them believe in themselves just that little bit more.
"They're starting to believe, but things like this just help it a little bit more I reckon."
The Lions' organisation defensively was particularly pleasing for the coach, with the Lions conceding their lowest score for the season – 64 points – and taking their average points against this season to 95.
"It's something we've been working on all year and our points against have come down a fair bit from where they were at the end of 2016 (130 points)," Fagan said.
"That's a fair way to come in 18 months and that's on the back of a whole lot of little things you have to do to get your defence right.
"I thought today we were terrific at that."
While avoiding a second straight wooden spoon was not a focus at the club, the Lions have a golden opportunity to distance themselves from last place when they host the Blues next Saturday.
Two wins in a row for the first time since round seven, 2015, would also add to a memorable week for Fagan.
"I've had a good week because my daughter had a baby. It's our first granddaughter so I'm officially a grandfather now," Fagan said.
"Jess had a little daughter and we had a great win, so I've had a great week. I've got a lot to be thankful for."