Woeful Lions in utter disbelief
BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan admits his winless side might be struggling with performance anxiety after squandering another AFL opportunity.
The Lions remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder after losing to the Western Bulldogs by 14 points on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
It was another opportunity gone begging for the Lions, who slashed the margin to eight points midway through the final term before Bailey Dale seized on a Lewis Taylor turnover to hand Marcus Bontempelli a momentum-shifting fourth goal.
Brisbane's 0-8 record is their worst start to a season since 1991 when they lost their first nine games as the Bears, before merging with Fitzroy ahead of the 1997 season.
It's a difficult pill to swallow for Fagan given that, by most objective measures, Brisbane have made significant gains following last season's wooden spoon.
Late heartbreak has become a recurring theme for the Lions, whose fadeout against the Bulldogs was preceded by single-digit losses to Collingwood, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide.
Fagan on Saturday night wondered aloud whether his side had forgotten how to seal the deal when given the opportunity to put games away.
"I've often wondered that, whether you forget how (to win) or you get a little bit anxious," Fagan said.
"I thought there were times tonight where we had the ball and we were trying too hard almost to force it. And I've seen that in a few of the close losses that we've had this year.
"We've talked about it. There is a bit of that, I reckon."
The Lions might be set for more pain as they look to avoid a repeat of last year's wooden spoon with games against Hawthorn and Sydney to come.
Fagan said it was a sign of improvement that, with the exception of a 93-point thrashing from Richmond, they had been competitive in every game.
"When the whips are cracking, we're still not quite good enough to get over the line," he said.
"That's not a permanent thing. That's just something we've got to keep working at and we'll get there in the end.
"If you have a good look at our numbers this year and compare us to last year we've improved a lot."