Chris Fagan publicly defended his players like a "mad man" but the coach said the Brisbane Lions always addressed their AFL finals frailties behind closed doors.
Those accountability sessions paid off on Saturday night when the red-hot favourites were staring down the barrel of a third preliminary final exit in the last four seasons.
Carlton had kicked the first five goals at the Gabba, with the hosts dominated at the centre bounce and lucky not to trail by more if not for some stoic defence.
But the Blues kicked just one goal in the next two quarters as Brisbane eventually won by 16 points - 11.13 (79) to 9.9 (63) - to book a grand final berth against Collingwood.
It's the club's first grand final appearance in 19 years and first under Fagan, who shot them from the wooden spoon in 2017 to second place in 2019 where they've hovered since.
A dominant force during the regular season, particularly at home, the Lions' finals form has been a lingering concern.
But they've now won four of their last five finals games.
And after finding a way back against Carlton, Fagan is confident they can handle the heat at the MCG, where they beat Melbourne in a semi-final last season but have lost 13 straight regular-season games.
"We have worked really hard from all those occasions where we didn't play in the manner we'd like to in some of the big games and it's been building," Fagan said.
"We've never really shied away from it.
"I know I stick up for my blokes like a mad man sometimes, but internally we've always dealt with our issues and weaknesses.
"It all came together, because we weren't in a good spot at quarter time."
Fagan enjoyed a wine with his family after the game before switching focus to the minor premiers, who the Lions beat in both regular season fixtures this season.
Unless Jack Gunston is recalled, Josh Dunkley (Bulldogs, 2016) will be only premiership player in Brisbane's team.
Fagan this week worked out he'd been in the coach's box for 44 finals games and part of four premierships with Hawthorn.
"There's lots of different things that happen," he said of grand final week.
"You've just to embrace them and enjoy them, understand it won't be normal. (I'll try to bring) just calmness around the place."
Fagan has already started recruiting some extra support, hopeful any neutrals jump on board.
"The grand final crowd's a different crowd from the normal crowd," he said.
"A lot of people with difference allegiances. What I'm hoping is those that don't barrack for Collingwood get on the Lions bandwagon and barrack for us."
Australian Associated Press