The Lions are chasing history this weekend.
The Lions are chasing history this weekend.

Lions eye historic minor premiership

THE minor premiership that eluded the Lions even during the club's halcyon years is a driving force for Brisbane as they attempt to beat Richmond for the first time in 13 matches on Sunday at the MCG.

While a first AFL premiership proper since 2003 remains the club's ultimate goal, finishing the regular season in top spot would be a remarkable achievement for a team that placed 15th last year.

The Lions will guarantee themselves first place and the minor premiership by beating the Tigers this weekend.

It's a task easier said than done.

Richmond as premiership favourites and have won 12 on the trot against the Lions, who have not won at the MCG since 2014.

But Brisbane have made a habit of defying the odds this season.

By doing it again on Sunday with a win over the Tigers, the Lions will win the minor premiership for the first time since 1913 (as Fitzroy).

Fitzroy’s 1913 team was the last Lions side to win a minor premiership.
Fitzroy’s 1913 team was the last Lions side to win a minor premiership.

Being the competition's best-performed team in the regular season is something that even Brisbane's great premiership-winning sides of 2001, 2002 and 2003 under coach Leigh Matthews could not do.

"I'm aware of that statistic but I don't think rest of the boys are," Lions captain Dayne Zorko said of the 106-year minor premiership-winning drought.

"It's not something that we'll be solely focused on but what an exciting achievement if we're able to get the win this weekend.

"(Coach Chris Fagan) has asked for constant improvement all year and we've been able to do that.

"We won't be worrying about the result, we'll be worrying about the process, and if we can get our process right, it certainly gives us a good chance to win that.

The Tigers are $1.44 favourites with Ladbrokes to beat the Lions ($2.75).

Even Brisbane Lions’ threepeat sides didn’t finish on top at the end of the home-and-away season. Picture: David Geraghty.
Even Brisbane Lions’ threepeat sides didn’t finish on top at the end of the home-and-away season. Picture: David Geraghty.

And in terms of premiership betting, Brisbane are on the fourth line of betting at $6.50 behind Richmond ($3.50), West Coast Eagles ($4.50) and Geelong ($4.75).

"We've been able to prove people wrong all year," Zorko said.

"(Having) the underdog status isn't necessarily the worst thing. We'll just go out and execute our game plan as best as possible."

Zorko said the Lions had been "mature" in dealing with their last-gasp weekend win over Geelong rather than getting overexcited with the accomplishment.

"The maturity of the group has really shone through over the past six to eight weeks, where we've had some great wins but straight away we come in on Monday and it's just back to work," he said.

"I've really enjoyed seeing that. With an emerging side … they can get complacent, but I haven't seen any of that, so that's really exciting."

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