CHRIS Fagan is embracing Brisbane's rivalry with Geelong, saying the "gloves are off" ahead of Friday night's blockbuster at GMHBA Stadium.
The Lions have not won at the Cats' home ground since 2003, but the tensions have simmered between the teams since Lincoln McCarthy's late matchwinner at the Gabba in 2019.
In the corresponding contest last year, Geelong counterpart Chris Scott exchanged words with several Lions players at quarter-time of a fiery encounter.
The Cats hung on to win by a point after young Lion Zac Bailey was denied the chance of a match-winning goal following an umpiring decision the AFL later confirmed was incorrect.
"If you want to be a good team in this competition you've got to win on the road," Fagan said before departing Brisbane Airport on Thursday morning.
"Over the last five years we've never shied away from any challenges we've had thrown at us.
"We hadn't won at a lot of grounds in a long time, and gradually we've been able to tick those off against good opposition.
"We have a healthy respect for Geelong, they've been a team that always play in finals and over the last three years we've been able to do the same as that."
Winning at GMHBA Stadium and the MCG are two of the only hoodoos left to tick off on Fagan's list, which was a lengthy one when he got to the Lions late in 2016.
Fagan said it was the competition between two high-performing teams that wanted the edge over each other that brought the emotions out in both.
He described it as an "intense rivalry".
"For the last three years we've been a decent side, as have they, so when the better sides play each other, it's on, the gloves are off," Fagan said.
"I wouldn't have thought it would be any different tomorrow night.
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"We just look forward to that. What we hope is our players remain calm in that high-octane atmosphere.
"Hopefully we can show them we're really maturing as a team.
"Geelong have been up there a long time and they like to stamp their authority on other teams that might be emerging.
"We're happy for it to continue for both of us because it probably means we're somewhere up there near the top."
Fagan confirmed Tom Fullarton would come in to replace suspended ruckman Oscar McInerney, meaning former Cat Darcy Fort would take on the primary rucking duties.