Michael Voss admits the "what ifs" will haunt his Carlton side and that he'll wait to fully digest their missed preliminary final chance against Brisbane before analysing how his spearhead forwards were taken out of the game.
The Blues kicked the first five goals at the Gabba on Saturday night but the Lions kicked 10 of the next 11 to win by 16 points and book a grand final berth against Collingwood.
Back-to-back Coleman Medallist Charlie Curnow was restricted to just one first-quarter goal and one behind, taking four marks and earning eight disposals.
It continued his meagre finals run, Curnow kicking solitary goals in the Blues' previous two wins after managing 27 majors in the final six games of the regular season.
The door was ajar for a breakout game with Brisbane key defender Jack Payne (ankle) sidelined, but the more experienced Darcy Gardiner slammed it shut in just his third game at AFL level this season.
Harry McKay was back from concussion and proved a handful, earning four free kicks and kicking 2.2 in a duel with the brilliant Harris Andrews.
Coach Voss blamed the side's poor ball use and the Lions' ramped-up pressure for his twin towers' inability to take the game away from a home side on the canvas.
"We'll use the vision in a couple of days to absorb why that's the case," he said.
"Brisbane's pressure rose, we weren't able to make our way through that.
"We absorbed for a long time and late in the fourth, if one of those shots go through it's game on.
"It's a what-if we'll continue to ask ourselves forever.
"We had some threatening times, couldn't put them together long enough."
Captain Patrick Cripps (13 disposals) was also well held by Josh Dunkley (23 touches) in a repeat of their head-to-head in Brisbane's win earlier this season.
"There was a couple of different battles that were going to be pretty critical," Voss said.
"I'll evaluate that in time ... (but) we've done it all together and that's what's moved the needle.
"It hasn't been the individual talent that's helped us do that; it's the collective effort.
"We'll win some contests, lose some contents.
"But if we can collectively get it done we know days like this can go in our favour a bit more."
The Blues' rise from 15th with four wins after 13 rounds to the club's first preliminary final since 2000 has left Voss with plenty to ponder.
"They've stuck together, experienced some tough adversity and navigated through it," he said.
"There's some important pieces there but a bit to get after.
"We have to look at what we need to ... look at ourselves and evolve."
Australian Associated Press