Brisbane have their destiny in their own hands as they seek to dodge what would be the AFL club’s first wooden spoon in nearly 20 years.
The Lions head into the final fortnight of the season knowing that two wins will be enough to lift them from the bottom of the ladder.
Even if they lose to Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, as expected, they still stand a reasonable chance of doing so with 16th-placed North Melbourne equal on points and due to visit the Gabba in the final round.
As bad as they have been over the last few years, it is easy to forget the Lions haven’t finished last since 1998 – their second season as a merged entity.
And after the huge strides forward made in coach Chris Fagan’s first year at the helm, it won’t sit well with his playing group.
“The players definitely don’t want the wooden spoon, so that’s a motivation for them,” Fagan said.
“It would be nice to go that way … (but) I don’t think it’s about ladder position.
“It’s about so many other things – the culture of your footy club, how many quarters you can win, points for, points against, the development of your players individually.”
The Kangaroos, Carlton and Brisbane have all won five games this season but are separated by percentage in the AFL’s bottom three.
The Blues play Hawthorn (home) and Sydney (away) and could easily slip to the bottom if the Lions find more winning form after last week’s big win over rivals Gold Coast.
A victory over the Demons would be just fourth time the Lions would have notched back-to-back wins in the last four seasons.
They haven’t won three in a row since 2013.
“We want to finish off the season strongly, we’ve been talking about that for a while,” Fagan said.
“I think so far we’ve done that. We know we’ve improved so the next two weeks hopefully just confirm that a little bit more.”
THE RACE TO AVOID THE AFL WOODEN SPOON:
* 15th – Gold Coast (6 wins, 14 losses, 24 points, 80.49%)
Next up: Essendon (home), Port Adelaide (away)
* 16th – North Melbourne (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points, 86.25%)
Next up: St Kilda (away), Brisbane (away)
* 17th – Carlton (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points 79.78%)
Next up: Hawthorn (home), Sydney (away)
* 18th – Brisbane (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points, 74.48%)
Next up: Melbourne (away), North Melbourne (home)