AFL coaching tougher than ever: Lions' Fagan

Chris Fagan says the relentless grind of modern-day AFL coaching means the job is tougher than ever.

But he's reassured Brisbane Lions supporters that there's still plenty of juice in the tank, admitting the wins help as the 8-2 side steadies itself for a premiership push.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, the AFL's longest-standing current mentor, quit his post this week.

North Melbourne's Alastair Clarkson, implicated with Fagan in the ongoing Hawthorn racism investigation, announced his own indefinite break last week.

Fagan, 61, was a long-time assistant coach and football manager before taking on the Lions' top job in 2017.

He took a voluntary leave of absence in the off-season but Fagan has maintained his innocence while the Hawks' investigation has stalled this year.

"Every time we lose I'm burnt out," he said with a smile ahead of Sunday's trip to play Adelaide.

"I'm still enjoying the challenge each week; some weeks you feel better than others and winning always helps."

"I haven't spoken to Damien, so don't know the ins and outs of it."

"It's a reflection of the pressure senior coaches are under to keep coming up with new ideas to inspire your team."

"It's relentless but at this point of time ... I feel good."

He said the constant magnifying glass on coaches and fact the job requires year-round attention ensured the pressure was always there.

"It's certainly more scrutinised from the days when Ron Barassi and Norm Smith were doing the job," he said.

"It's definitely become tougher ... it's talked about seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

"That's not a criticism ... but it is tough."

Fagan has backed the push to return clubs' soft cap spending on the football department to pre-COVID levels, but that it wasn't necessarily head coaches feeling the pinch.

"We're trying to provide the same quality of program that we did a few years ago," he said.

"That level below the senior coach, it's really bitten."

"I'd like to see some considerable movement towards where it was. Somewhere closer would be good."

Fagan said Daniel Rich had proved his fitness and, pending Thursday's session, would return from a calf injury to face the Crows.

Jack Payne (concussion) will miss the clash but seasoned defender Darcy Gardiner has overcome a variety of injuries to play consecutive weeks at VFL level and show he's ready for his first taste of AFL action this year.

Keidean Coleman (glute) also needs to prove his fitness after limping off late in last week's defeat of Gold Coast.