MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Lions head coach Chris Fagan gestures to fans after winning the round two AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium on March 26, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Brisbane's status as a 'contender' going forward will depend on how the team fares in games played away from the Gabba, specifically come the business end of the season.

The Lions' narrow loss to Geelong at GMHBA Stadium last Friday night may not have seemed significant, especially considering their commandeering 3-0 start to the season.

However, look a little closer and perhaps it's more concerning than some may want to believe.

After top-four finishes in each of the last three seasons, the Lions have firmly established themselves as premiership contenders.

But despite these promising steps, Brisbane has bowed out in straight sets in two out of those three finals campaigns and have not won a final away from the Gabba since 2004.

Since the start of the 2019 season, 31 out of 49 (63%) of Brisbane's wins have come at the Gabba - while their record away from headquarters isn't so hot.

Brisbane was just 6-6 away from the Gabba in 2021, including a qualifying final loss to Melbourne at Adelaide Oval and home-and-away losses to Geelong (Kardinia Park), Western Bulldogs (Ballarat), Melbourne (GIANTS Stadium), Richmond (Metricon Stadium) and Hawthorn (Tasmania).

The Lions won just two out of their eight games played in Victoria last season, winning against bottom-eight finishers Carlton and Collingwood at Marvel Stadium.

With Brisbane likely to come up against Melbourne, or even Geelong or Richmond, at the MCG come finals time, the Lions need to up their game at the home of football.

Believe it or not, the Lions' last win at the MCG was a 67-point victory against Collingwood in Round 21, 2014 - creeping up on eight years ago.

It's far from panic stations for Chris Fagan's men, and the club's positive start to the season rightfully has many excited, but we must see an improvement in performance away from home - especially in finals - if we can tout the Lions as true flag favourites.