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Lions chasing fast start against Suns

Brisbane’s Hugh McCluggage says the Lions are on a quest to find their best AFL form in an ominous warning to rivals Gold Coast heading into Sunday’s Queensland derby.

The Lions sit third on the competition ladder with four wins from five matches and are facing a team at Metricon Stadium they haven’t lost too since 2018.

Despite that, McCluggage believes there is obvious room for improvement for the Lions as they look to extend their dominance over their southern neighbours.

“We still don’t think we’ve played our best footy yet,” McCluggage said.

“As a midfield group I can speak for the fact that our first quarters haven’t been great and we really want to make that right this week.

“That should hold us in good stead for the game if we can come out well.

“We know they’re going to come out firing and we just want to put our best foot forward early.”

The Suns are heading into Sunday’s game on the back of a 26-point loss to St Kilda last Saturday.

That was Gold Coast’s third defeat in five matches this season but after pushing premiers Melbourne and beating Carlton in their two home games in 2022, McCluggage is wary of the threat the Suns will pose.

He says he’s noticed a distinct change in how Stuart Dew’s team is playing this year, including a greater willingness to play unselfish football.

“That was one of the first things that we changed when Fages (coach Chris Fagan) got here and one of the first things that leads to becoming a better team,” the 24-year-old said.

“All the best teams are like that, Richmond, Melbourne – really selfless teams, they’re used to pass off, best-shot mentality, all those sort of things.

“Gold Coast are doing that and no surprises that they’re going better.”

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