AFL: Dental surgeries impacted Charlie Cameron’s early form for Brisbane Lions

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Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has revealed a series of surgeries on Charlie Cameron’s teeth during the pre-season has played a part in his slow start to 2024, but he saw some “buzz and energy” last week like he did in his team as they prepare for an all new challenge against Melbourne.

Cameron lost his front teeth and also suffered a broken bone under his nose after coming off second best in a contest with Richmond’s Trent Cotchin in round 16 last season.

The star forward didn’t miss a game, but after the Lions’ heartbreaking grand final loss to Collingwood, he needed multiple surgeries to fix his dental issues, which meant missing chunks of the already shorter pre-season.

Cameron had been below his sparkling best through the opening three games of 2023, all Lions losses, but found some spark with two goals against North Melbourne last weekend as the Brisbane forward line kicked into gear.

Ahead of a crunch clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Thursday, Fagan said he saw enough good signs from Cameron, the rest of his forward line and others to be confident they were going in the “right direction” after finally notching a first win against the inexperienced Kangaroos.

“I haven’t talked about this, but Charlie had a really interrupted pre-season with would you believe tooth surgery,” Fagan said on Wednesday morning.

“He got his teeth knocked out last year. He had to have a series of procedures across the pre-season which meant he missed a lot of training and then on the eve of the season he got the flu and missed about four or five days of training.

“But a little bit last week and definitely this week his buzz and his energy and his fitness and feel for the game is back. If you saw the last quarter last week, there some really good signs Charlie was on the way back, so I expect him to build on that.”

The Lions kicked 16 goals last week, with star forward Joe Daniher booting five and Eric Hipwood three a week after being heavily criticised for a poor showing in the grand final rematch with Collingwood, won by the Magpies.

But Fagan was quick to defend Hipwood.

“He only had the one bad game. It’s like he had 10 bad games in a row the way he’s been talked about. He just had a had game against Collingwood,” Fagan said.

“He kicked three the week before against Fremantle, his pre-season was pretty good. He just did what I expected him to do along with all the other forwards.”

Fagan said he had put the 70-point win over the battling Kangaroos “in perspective”, knowing that while his team showed good signs, taking on Melbourne would give the Lions a better indication of how they are travelling.

“A win gives you a little bit of confidence but we did play a very young, inexperienced North Melbourne team, so we have to keep it in perspective,” he said

“But it was a step in the right direction and we’ll find out a bit more tomorrow night to see how we are realty going.”

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