Settled Lions 'ready' thanks to seven-year AFL journey

Chris Fagan is as relaxed as he can be ahead of Brisbane's AFL qualifying final with the coach confident his team is tougher to beat and more "ready" thanks to seven years of hard knocks.

The Lions will host Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday, split by only percentage after a 17-win season that began with a heavy Power win in Adelaide in round one.

Brisbane did not lose a game at home during the regular season, but Fagan knows that is now irrelevant with the jury still out on their finals credentials thanks to a 3-6 post-season record after four consecutive campaigns without a grand-final appearance.

The coach has sometimes come across as terse and defensive in September, but on Friday spoke with patience and confidence about what he views as the side's best chance to win a flag since his arrival in 2017.

"I'm as relaxed as you can be ... I was tossing and turning a bit last night imagining the game and how it might pan out but that's just normal stuff," he said.

"It feels like we've been getting ready for this for seven years. 

"You just want to make the most of your opportunity, not let it slip by.

"I don't think we have done that (in previous seasons), I just don't think we've been quite ready. 

"But we've been getting closer all the time and this year is as close as we've been so you've got to try and make the most of that.

"You learn along the way and particularly from your failures and mistakes."

The rise of Darcy Wilmot, Deven Robertson and Jaspa Fletcher in particular has meant any holes have been filled, Fagan saying the confidence comes from a settled line-up that's proved extremely hard to beat.

"Games we might have lost in the past, we've found a way to win," he said.

"We're a tougher side mentally, which is something we deliberately worked on."

Lincoln McCarthy returns from a calf niggle for Brisbane while Port have had an already tricky week at the selection table compounded by a training injury that ruled out retiring skipper Tom Jonas.

Trent McKenzie will return to replace him while ruckman Scott Lycett (knee) and key forward Todd Marshall (hip) are also back.

Offensive weapon Charlie Dixon (knee) won't play while coach Ken Hinkley confirmed former skipper Travis Boak will be the substitute after he was dropped from the starting 22.

"We have both got quite experienced teams when it comes to playing finals football but we have both also had our challenges through the back end of finals football," Hinkley said.

"That's the one thing that I do know, the best teams qualify.

"Every team that is in there has earned their right to play, but every team also knows that the stakes go up because this is what we play football for."

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