Will Ashcroft during the round 19 match between Brisbane and Geelong at The Gabba on July 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan says losing Will Ashcroft will not change the way the Lions play, as they prepare to cover his absence by committee in the midfield.

With Ashcroft waiting for swelling to disappear from his torn ACL so he can undergo surgery next week, the Lions have opted to replace him with young half-forward Kai Lohmann for Saturday's QClash against Gold Coast.

With Zac Bailey expected to return from a calf problem next week, that may be a short-term option to a long-term issue.

Kai Lohmann in action during match between St Kilda and Brisbane at Marvel Stadium in round 15, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Regardless, Fagan said he is confident Brisbane has the midfield cover to replace his young star.

"It won't change one little thing," Fagan said on Friday morning when asked about Ashcroft's absence.

"He's obviously incredibly disappointed, he was having such a great season.

"He and his family are hurting this week and we are for him.

"We've got quite a few more guys that can play more minutes in there.

"(Hugh) McCluggage can play more minutes in there, (Dayne) Zorko can play in there, Cam Rayner can play in there, Jarrod Berry, who has been playing on the wing, can play in there.

"We'll sort through that."


Zorko is now three games back from his own calf problem and looking better every match.

Against Geelong last week he finished with 15 disposals, and more notably six tackles, as his terrier-like defensive intensity gets back towards its best.

Dayne Zorko in action during the match between Brisbane and Geelong at The Gabba in round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Fagan said he was less concerned by his opponent this weekend than he was by the brand of football the Lions are playing after winning five from their past six games.

"What we're trying to build at the moment coming into finals is consistency," he said.

"It's not about playing against the Suns, it's about how we go against the opposition … and building those habits we know will help us come finals.

"That's our biggest focus, just to be consistent."