Darcy Wilmot celebrates a goal during round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CHRIS Fagan says Brisbane's post-bye loss to Hawthorn "woke everybody up" and has sparked his team's recent form surge.

The Lions made it three consecutive wins on Thursday night, demolishing Richmond by 81 points at the Gabba to follow victories over Sydney and St Kilda.

It solidified them in third on the ladder and ensured the pressure remained on Collingwood and Port Adelaide for the all-important top two positions.


Fagan said the shock 25-point loss to the Hawks in round 13 had a big impact on his team, refocussing them on the defensive side of their game.

The coach also conceded leaving veterans Daniel Rich and Jack Gunston out the following week to undergo a block of training may have had a positive impact.

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"Maybe opening up the team for others to have an opportunity has been motivational and maybe it's put everyone on edge a little bit," Fagan said.

"Two really good players that have had great AFL careers not currently in the team.

"It's hard to know, but I don't feel like that's sparked this, I think we've just been building our form.

"And the Hawthorn game made us really disappointed in ourselves and woke everybody up."


In recent weeks Fagan has introduced Jaspa Fletcher and recalled Keidean Coleman and Deven Robertson with great results.

Although kicking 20 goals against the Tigers, it was the defensive side Fagan was most pleased with.

In the past three weeks they have conceded just 12, eight and seven goals respectively and looked cohesive around the ground.

"The Hawthorn game made us put the spotlight back on team defence," he said.

"It was a big thing we worked on over the pre-season and for most of our games this year it's been pretty strong, just not in round one against Port, not against Hawthorn.

Darcy Wilmot attempts a spoil during round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"We were good all game and we were good in all the facets. Our contest numbers are incredibly good, but the most pleasing part about it was our team defence.

"I just thought we were stingey.

"They didn't get a lot of inside 50s (38), we cut off a lot of their plays.

"That was our biggest focus coming into the game, to stop that run-forward, handball chain game that they play when they play their very best footy."

Fagan conceded it would be difficult for Rich to walk straight back into the AFL team when he was fit again, saying Coleman, Darcy Wilmot, Brandon Starcevich and Conor McKenna had been terrific in defence.

The Lions will be without Callum Ah Chee to face West Coast next week after the forward was concussed late in the game.

Callum Ah Chee lays injured on the ground during round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

They should have Josh Dunkley available though, despite being subbed out at three quarter-time.

Fagan said it was just a precautionary move after the midfielder suffered a corked calf.

Richmond coach Andrew McQualter described his team's performance as underwhelming.

He made no excuses for missing key personnel Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and game-day omission Dustin Martin through illness.


"I think you just got to give a lot of credit to Brisbane's midfield," he said.

"I thought they were exceptional tonight in the clinches, they were tough. They hunted the ball.

"It's a bad loss, but we'll bounce back we'll find a way, we'll review the game and we understand we've got to get better.

"Brisbane, [its] game tonight was right at the top, a very, very impressive game from [the Lions].

"We'll find some ways to get better and look to improve."