MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Chris Fagan, Senior Coach looks on during the 2020 AFL Round 01 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Chris Fagan, Senior Coach looks on during the 2020 AFL Round 01 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Lions play down Queensland hub advantage fears

LIONS coach Chris Fagan has dismissed suggestions Brisbane will have a home-ground advantage when the AFL season restarts next month following confirmation of a Queensland hub.

West Australian clubs Fremantle and West Coast, and South Australian teams Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows will base themselves on the Gold Coast for a series of empty stadium matches among themselves, the Lions and the Suns when the season resumes.

"They're four very good sides from those states so just because we play them here in Brisbane doesn't mean it's going to be any easier for us," Fagan said.

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"I'm not a great believer in home-ground advantage. I'm a great believer in turning up with the right attitude anywhere in the country, and if you do that you're a chance to win.

"Up until last year we used to get beaten more often than not at home. We're just looking forward to the opportunity to play again, wherever it is.

"It's great news. It's something that all of our staff and all of our players have been looking forward to.

"We'll be able to start our old routines again, which is pretty nice."

Fagan expected the WA and SA clubs to embrace the Queensland environment.

"It's just good that Queensland's able to provide the environment for those guys to come up here to spend some time and play some footy," he said.

"It's not the worst place in the world to be if they've got to be in a hub.

"It's pretty good up here at this time of year, so I'm sure that they'll enjoy it."

AFL clubs can start non-contact training in groups of eight from Monday, with contact training twice a week permitted from May 25.

Players and officials will be tested for coronavirus at least a day before each session, while the fixture schedule for the first four weeks of the season will be released within 10 days.

Fremantle and West Coast are two of the four clubs relocating.
Fremantle and West Coast are two of the four clubs relocating.

"With a few weeks of training under our belt we'll be able to put a pretty decent product out on the field," Fagan said.

"It's the same for every team. It's not like anybody's going to get an advantage. If we're all underdone, we're all underdone."

Lions CEO Greg Swann was delighted the AFL competition was resuming but stressed the need for stringent protocols.

"Whilst we're all excited that football can return, signalling another step towards a return to normality, we are resolute in our determination to follow health guidelines in order to ensure that a return to playing football is done in a safe manner for players, staff and the wider community" he said.

"COVID-19 has impacted us all and taught us a number of lessons on what's really important - family and health not the least of these.

"As a club we intend to learn from these lessons moving forward."