Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has conceded his AFL side’s inaccuracy in front of goal is taking its toll on a young side concerned about letting their teammates down.
But they continue to win despite it and, sitting second on percentage behind Port Adelaide, he says it’s a simple area of improvement before another finals run.
The Lions escaped with a two-point win over St Kilda on Sunday at the Gabba.
The 6.14 (50) to 7.6 (48) win was an anxious one after a string of misses.
Eric Hipwood was the chief culprit with three behinds and another that fell short in an otherwise powerful aerial display from the Lions forward.
Fagan said the game “should have been over at three-quarter time” but that Brisbane’s ability to win ugly would only help later this year.
“I think we’ve still got a fair bit of room for improvement in our game,” he said.
“Obviously goal kicking (is a concern) … I promise you we are working on it.
“We’ve just got to keep refining and hopefully … we’ll be in good shape and in good form when we get to that pointy end of the year.
“That’s the most important thing.”
The loss kept St Kilda a win outside the top four, coach Brett Ratten disappointed they got so close but quietly satisfied they could push the Lions at their home ground.
West Coast posted their eighth win on the trot with a 12-point victory over Greater Western Sydney at Optus Stadium.
Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui and defender Jeremy McGovern produced standout displays in the 9.7 (61) to 7.7 (49) win.
The defeat came at a big cost for the Giants, who lost veteran Callan Ward to a gruesome finger fracture that could rule him out for the rest of the season.
Earlier on Sunday, flag contenders Geelong beat wooden spoon favourites Adelaide 9.11 (65) to 5.7 (37) at Adelaide Oval.
Scores were level during the third quarter before Coleman Medal leader Tom Hawkins booted two of his three goals after that point to help Geelong secure the win.
Sir Doug Nicholls Round was built around the ‘Dreamtime in Darwin’ fixture and Dustin Martin turned it on as Richmond squeezed past Essendon in a 10.13 (73) to 10.1 (61) win.
In a sour aftermath, Tigers premiership teammates Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin were subjected to vile abuse through social media after being accused of staging.
Hawthorn gave Port Adelaide a scare but the ladder leaders prevailed by 10 points, assisted by a 14-0 free-kick count in the second half.
Of greater influence was the Power’s dominance around the contest in the final quarter as Zak Butters sealed the result by slicing through a stoppage to kick a goal with two minutes left.
Melbourne’s revival was snuffed out by the Western Bulldogs, who rode a four-goal haul from Mitch Wallis for a 28-point win to replace their vanquished opponents in the top eight.
Carlton and Fremantle kept their faint finals hopes alive with wins over Gold Coast and Sydney respectively.