GREATER Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has conceded the Giants are "a rung off the top-liners" as their season threatens to slip out of control.
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Two costly four-goal bursts at the hands of Brisbane saw the Giants fall to 3-4 on Saturday, their worst start to a season since 2014.
It comes as they prepare to tackle Richmond in a crucial Grand Final rematch at Giants Stadium on Friday night.
"For whatever reason we're a rung off the top-liners," Cameron said after the 20-point loss to the Lions.
"(It was our) consistency throughout the game, conceding some things we shouldn't have.
"Clearly our contest and clearance work was better, then we overused our hands and we invited their pressure.
"No doubt the boys are down a bit on confidence, but it is what is, we've got to fight through it as a footy club.
"You've got to hang in there when things aren't going well. We've done it in the last few years and I'm really backing our players to do it again this year."
Cameron said he wasn't concerned about running out of time to kickstart a premiership tilt with just 10 matches left in the home and away season.
"If you wallow in pity and say, 'poor us', you're not going to get anywhere," he said.
"I'm not worried about the time factor, I know it's a shortened season, what I'm really honing in on is our ability to play harder for longer."
Cameron said it was too early to determine if Toby Greene would return against the Tigers after missing with a shin injury.
Lions coach Chris Fagan was proud of his side's poise to bounce back when challenged after failing to do so nine days earlier.
"Last week when Geelong came at us, we didn't respond, and I thought today showed we'd learned a lot from last week's game and we were able to respond each time GWS had a run at us," Fagan said.
"I thought our ball use was good today, we took 11 marks inside 50 and were able to keep them to three.
"Our team as a whole defended particularly well and when the Giants take a lot of uncontested marks they usually win."
The Lions expect to depart New South Wales on Wednesday before next Sunday's clash against Melbourne at Metricon Stadium.