AAP AFL

Fagan backs Lions to tame Pies’ AFL mids

By AAP Newswire

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has backed his side to run with Collingwood's Dayne Beams-bolstered midfield in their likely AFL sell-out clash at the Gabba.

Limited tickets remain for Thursday's game in what would be the club's first packed house since 2010, to watch Magpies star Beams play against the club he captained last year.

Beams played four seasons in Brisbane and declared in a speech at the Lions' best and fairest last year that he would be remaining in 2019, only to be traded back to Collingwood weeks later.

Acknowledging Collingwood's midfield was at the top of the AFL list, Fagan said his improving Lions would embrace the occasion and treat their former skipper no differently to any other opponent.

"Dayne's one of 22; they've got a lot of great players, including him and we don't spend any more time on him than we spend on anyone else," Fagan said.

"We'll shake his hand before, shake hands at the end and what happens in between, we've got no control over that, have we?"

Beams will return for the Magpies after a migraine forced him out of last week's defeat of the Western Bulldogs, joining a midfield featuring Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams.

The Lions' 3-1 season start has been powered by Lachie Neale's prolific ball winning and Fagan says there's no reason that can't continue this week.

"If you look at the Champion Data statistics they'll tell you Collingwood are No.1 midfield in the AFL," Fagan said.

"West Coast's midfield were ranked pretty highly as well, so were Port Adelaide.

"We've been able to play against good midfields and match, if not beat them and we look forward to that challenge, we know it's a big part of winning the game."

A healthy crowd turned out to watch the Lions' Wednesday training session at the Gabba as the club announced it had gone past 26,000 members.

"The crowd last year was about 22,000, this year around 34-ish so yes there's a few more people interested in the way we're playing and credit to that goes to our players," Fagan said.

He hopes the Lions and Magpies put on a show to convince the AFL that the Easter Thursday fixture should become a permanent one.