BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan is disappointed in the result, but not unhappy with his team's spirit following Sunday's 10-point loss to Essendon.

The Lions were without nine of their 23 players from a week ago as injury and COVID-19 infections decimated their team.

The trailed by 16 points at half-time and got within a goal late, but couldn't get over the final hump to win.

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Fagan said conceding goals from centre clearances was the difference in the match, but was pleased with his patchwork team's performance.

09:01 Mins
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"It was a crazy week," he said.

"I thought our effort today to hang in there under those circumstances was great.

"I know the numbers look like Essendon dominated the game, but we’re not a big numbers team anyway.

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"I thought our spirit just to keep hanging in there … was full of credit.

"I'm not going to go home tonight unhappy with them at all, I'm going to go home disappointed that we lost the game and frustrated, but in terms of effort and trying hard, it's a really decent effort I believe.

"It's not the end of the world."

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Brisbane is now in fourth place and faces Greater Western Sydney in Canberra next Saturday afternoon.

Fagan said the lack of continuity among his defensive unit – with players dropping out by the day – was perhaps the most difficult thing to overcome against the Bombers.

He was unsure how many of his troops would be back to face the Giants, but confirmed small defender Noah Answerth would be unavailable as his seven-day protocol period would expire on game day.

He said injured quartet Daniel Rich, Dayne Zorko, Jarrod Berry and Jaxon Prior were all on the minor side, while Harris Andrews, Dan McStay, Callum Ah Chee and Keidean Coleman could all come back from health and safety protocols.

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"But I couldn't be 100 per cent sure about that," Fagan said.

"We can't cry over spilled milk.

"We've been dealt a hand with some circumstances out of our control. We did the best we could under those circumstances. 

"These are the times that we live in."

Essendon coach Ben Rutten was delighted with his team's third win from its past four matches, saying it was difficult to beat Brisbane at the Gabba no matter what collection of players ran out.

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"I was really pleased with the way we stuck at it," Rutten said.

"They're the sorts of games against good teams on the road that we need to be up for. I thought the way we handled it showed some maturity and some real grit.

"To be able to see the progress especially over the last few weeks has been good for our goals. 

"We've been really clear and consistently training at a high level over a period of time, and that's how you get the results over the last few weeks, from putting that work in. 

"Our group's building some confidence and building some momentum in what we're doing day-to-day."