October 4, 2022

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Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan reportedly butted heads with a footy journalist following Sunday afternoon’s loss to Essendon.

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan was reportedly embroiled in a heated confrontation with a footy journalist following Sunday afternoon’s 10-point loss to Essendon at the Gabba.

The Bombers secured a gritty 15.10 (100) to 13.12 (90) victory over Brisbane in the Round 17 contest.

The Lions, who were ravaged by Covid-19 and injury on the weekend, have now lost four of their past seven outings to be 11-5 and clinging to a top four spot on percentage.

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As revealed by footy reporter Damian Barrett on Monday evening, Fagan was not impressed with a match report written by a journalist that referenced his team’s “sub-par effort” and the coach confronted the reporter about his choice of words in a “tense moment”.

“It’s the reference to the ‘sub-par for much of the day’ which was made aware to Chris Fagan prior to the press conference happening,” Barrett told Footy Classified.

“They certainly came together, they were in very, very close proximity. There’s varying events. Chris Fagan is saying it didn’t get physical. It’s certain they got very close, his space was invaded, to use that terminology.

“I think time over again Chris wouldn’t have done what he did. He has, according to a conversation I had with him today, apologised for whatever happened to Michael Whiting, who is one of the very good journalists in the country.

“What it shows to me is they don’t like us talking about the five losses out of the six finals he has coached. They don’t like that. That is a statement of fact

“They also wouldn’t like the fact that they’ve lost four out of their last seven now.”

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd continued: “If you’re blowing up over something like that, it just shows how uptight he is.

“They had one of the toughest weeks they could have with losing countless players and then losing to the Bombers, but if you’re so concerned about a line from a journalist … you’ve got so many more other things to be worried about.”

Former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes speculated whether it would be in Fagan’s best interest to watch Brisbane’s games from the coaching box rather than the interchange bench.

“I wonder if he should head back up to the coaches’ box,” Cornes told Footy Classified.

“You only see snippets from the broadcast, but if you are there as the senior coach, you’re there to educate and really be balanced and cool-headed in the way that you speak to your players.

“Is he playing the role on the boundary line that some others are in coaching and consulting his players? Is it time he goes back up to the (coaching) box and removes that distraction? I’d be distracted as a player seeing that.”

Speaking to reporters in the post-match press conference, Fagan said he was immensely proud of the team’s performance against the Bombers, managing to reduce the deficit to four points in the last couple of minutes.

“It was a really challenging week losing two or three players every day … I thought our effort

today to hang in there under those circumstances was great,’’ he said.

“I know the numbers look like Essendon dominated the game but we’re not a big numbers

team anyway.

“I thought our spirit just to keep hanging in there … and still be a chance to win the game

with a couple of minutes to go was full of credit.

“I’m not going to go home tonight unhappy with them at all. I’m going to go home

disappointed that we lost the game and frustrated but in terms of effort and trying hard.

“We can’t cry over spilled milk. We’ve been dealt a hand with some circumstances out of

our control. We did the best we could under those circumstances. These are the times that

we live in.’’

The Lions will next face the GWS Giants at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Saturday, with the first bounce scheduled for 1.45pm AEST.

With Greg Davis, NCA NewsWire

Originally published as ‘Tense moment’: Lions coach Chris Fagan confronts journalist after Essendon defeat

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