CHRIS Fagan says Brisbane must improve the lazy team defence that cost it against Sydney to have any chance of breaking an 18-year hoodoo against Geelong on Friday night.

The Lions flew to Melbourne on Thursday morning bound for GMHBA Stadium – a venue they haven't enjoyed success at since 2003.

But to make history, Fagan says a lot needs to change, from both the loss to the Swans in round one, and the preliminary final mauling from the Cats to end last season.

07:19 Mins
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Highlights: Brisbane v Geelong

The Lions and Cats clash in the second Preliminary Final

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"Geelong had the wood on us last year," Fagan said.

"They were the one team in the comp that were able to dominate us.

"There's many facets to that - the mental approach, some strategic things as well.

"I think they beat us in the hunt and contested part of the game, so that's where it all starts.

"If we don't get that bit right we can't get the other bits right."

Brisbane was poor in its 31-point loss last Saturday night, conceding 23 marks from Sydney's 57 inside 50 entries.

06:49 Mins
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Highlights: Brisbane v Sydney

The Lions and Swans clash in round one

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Fagan said the Swans were "brilliant" but the whole Lions outfit needed to take a look at themselves.

"At times it was laziness on behalf of our players and they know that, they put their hands up," he said.

"It's not something they deny.

"They know that's the truth and we'll look for an improvement in that.

"They were really disappointed in themselves.

"They probably would have liked to have played that game the next day."

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Brisbane is unlikely to make many changes to play a Geelong team missing Patrick Dangerfield, Jeremy Cameron and Mitch Duncan.

Darcy Gardiner, who was a late withdrawal from a VFL practice match last Saturday, is expected to play at the lower level this weekend as he comes back from a knee injury.