Fagan hopes for Lions veteran Rich finals lode

Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Daniel Rich looms as the hard-luck story of the Brisbane Lions' AFL premiership tilt, with coach Chris Fagan noting there are few fairytales with so much at stake.

The 33-year-old has endured a rough season and has only managed seven games, with his most recent senior appearance in round 13.

At his best, Rich boasts one of the best kicks in the game, but the 275-gamer will struggle to find a spot in a team that has confirmed its double chance.

Whether they host a qualifying final depends on beating St Kilda in Saturday's twilight game at the Gabba.

"It's going to be hard for him because he's missed so much football," Fagan said.

"But that won't stop him from trying and we want him to try, because you never know what's ahead."

In an interview posted on the AFL website this week, Rich said he did not want to be a distraction and would be rapt if Brisbane won a flag without him in the side.

"All I could think is what a great person he is and how selfless he is and how much he cares about the team," Fagan said of Rich's comments.

"All those things he said would have been genuine, too - not just saying it.

"He's one of Brisbane's great players and it's a real pity for him that right now that he can't do what he wants to do.

"He's facing a battle, but he's still inspirational to all of us and he will be throughout the finals series.

"There aren't too many fairytales going around."

Rich will look on as the Lions play a St Kilda side that has returned to form and, like the home team, has a week-one finals carrot as motivation.

An upset win over Brisbane would secure the Saints a home elimination final, but they will be without key forward Max King, who is being managed.

"We understand what's on the line. We'd be fools if we didn't because that's all everybody is talking about," Fagan said.

"We could finish first, we could finish fourth or anywhere in between.

"The good thing is, the destiny is in our hands and if we win, we can't finish any worse than second.

"It will be on tomorrow night. The pleasing thing for us is all of our games in the last five weeks, including tomorrow night, the other team has always had something to play for.

"So it's been good (finals) preparation for us."

Fagan added the greater importance was securing the double chance, rather than a week-one home final.

"I back us in to win, wherever we finish. If we put all our eggs in the 'finish top-two' basket, and we don't do it, are we cooked?," he said.

"Is that the end for us? We don't see it that way.

"Yes, we'd love to finish top two - it's better if you don't have to travel, because we do it pretty often.

"We think if we bring our best footy, we can win anywhere. The most important thing is the double chance."