Waiting game will test Lions' maturity: McCluggage

Hugh McCluggage is confident his Brisbane Lions will keep their edge when the club's patience is tested by a week off before an AFL preliminary final.

Brisbane booked their spot in the grand final qualifier with an impressive 48-point defeat of Port Adelaide on Saturday.

The pre-finals bye means they will have played only once in almost a month before facing the winner of Melbourne and Carlton at the Gabba next weekend.

The Lions haven't reached a grand final in four successive post-season campaigns under Chris Fagan, Geelong twice ended their runs in comprehensive 2020 and 2022 preliminary final defeats.

Last year's run came from sixth with brave defeats of Richmond and the Demons, while the 2020 campaign mirrored this year's direct entry.

"We've learnt a lot off the Cats," McCluggage said on Tuesday.

"They were a really physical team and we were able to do that on the weekend, impose ourselves in certain moments that we might not have in previous seasons."

He said it is "tough to wait" with no game this weekend, the Lions set to replicate their usual running effort in a Saturday training session given they won't play.

"While you do switch off a bit in that first week you need to keep a bit of edge about you," McCluggage said.

"It's hard to just turn it on, flick a switch, once you do get to the game.

"That'll be a test of the maturity of this group and we're hoping we've learnt a lot over the last few years, and the fact we've been in this position before, should help us."

McCluggage had a team-high 26 disposals on Saturday, turning the tide with his ball use when Willem Drew's hard tag on star midfielder Lachie Neale reduced him to a support player.

But the 25-year-old, in his seventh season at the club, said it was the poise and confidence of the club's emerging stars that caught his attention.

Jaspa Fletcher kicked three timely goals and was rock solid when put under pressure, while dashing defender Darcy Wilmot's 20 touches were also influential.

"It's pretty special watching a first-year player come out and do that in their first final," McCluggage said of Fletcher.

"It continues to amaze me how the young boys come in and are so composed.

"Even Wilmot, tackled early (and penalised for holding the ball); a lot of players could have gone into their shells.

"Not Motty, he just kept taking the game on.

"They give us more experienced players a lift."