Lions midfielders out to match Suns' 'purple patch'
Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan thinks Gold Coast's form and natural improve has blunted any psychological edge his side had built over an eight-game AFL winning streak.
The Queensland neighbours will meet at the Gabba on Saturday, the Suns (4-5) one win outside the top eight and the Lions (7-2) on a six-game roll.
The Suns have won three of their last four, with narrow losses to Fremantle and Melbourne following a brave defeat of Geelong.
The Lions have steadily ticked off milestone wins since Fagan's 2017 arrival and now sit among the premiership fancies.
"Back when we used to have those losing streaks against teams we didn't feel like we went into those games with those teams having a mental edge," the coach said.
"Just that we hadn't become a good enough team to beat them.
"Gold Coast would have belief now they can; they feel like they're growing and I suspect they'll be a confident group."
The Suns have offset the medium-term loss of inspirational captain Touk Miller (knee), midfielders Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson lifting to ensure they sit alongside the Lions as the AFL's most prolific clearance and contested ball winners.
"They're in great form ... as good a purple patch as they've been in quite a few years," Fagan, who watched them get within a goal of the Demons in person, said.
"That happens when young blokes are given a little bit more responsibility.
"So when I saw Touk get injured I wondered if that will be the case, and that's proven to be.
"That's the big challenge this week, who can get their hands on the ball first and that'll play a big part on the game."