They’re just about running on empty but Justin Leppitsch says Brisbane have to find something to satisfy their long-suffering supporters before their miserable AFL season is over.
The Lions face fellow strugglers Carlton on Saturday at the Gabba, a rare chance to claim what would be a third win of the year.
The Blues have lost their past eight games and have not tasted victory since the last time they took on Brisbane, when they won by 38 points in round 11 at Etihad Stadium.
Leppitsch’s side broke through three weeks ago to end their own 12-game losing streak but, after they were pumped in successive weeks by Port Adelaide and Adelaide by a combined 232 points, it’s clear the end of the season can’t come soon enough.
So battered and bruised are the Lions that some of their younger players can no longer cope with the punishment.
Key forward Josh Schache won’t play again this year for fear of burnout, and several in his age bracket look like they have nothing more to give.
But for Leppitsch, who needs something bordering on a miracle in the last three rounds to save his job, that just won’t do.
“We want to finish the year off well. We’ve got two more games at home; we want to win both the games for our fans, really,” he said.
“We’ve got to give them something to cheer about. It’s important they go away seeing some results, that they can say these boys are having a crack.
“The man in the stands wants to see the guys have a dip for a longer period of time. That’s really it – that’s what this week’s about.”
Offsetting the loss of Schache is the inclusion of ruckman Stef Martin and forward Michael Close for Brisbane.
Carlton, who bookies have as warm favourites, have lost Andrew Walker to retirement but regain Liam Jones and David Cuningham.