An explosive first quarter has helped Brisbane blitz Queensland rival Gold Coast at the Gabba, with the 45-point win placing the Lions second on the ladder with two rounds left before the finals.
- The Lions are equal with Port Adelaide on 48 points, but trail the Power on the ladder due to an inferior percentage
- Lachie Neale starred for the Lions to claim the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best on ground
- Jarrod Berry hurt his shoulder and may join Harris Andrews (hamstring) on the Lions’ long-term injury list
The 13.10 (88) to 6.7 (43) victory has the Lions equal with ladder leader Port Adelaide on 48 points with identical 12-3 win-loss records, but the Power are on top courtesy of a superior percentage.
Brisbane ball magnet Lachie Neale (33 disposals, 19 contested possessions) was back to his dominant best to claim the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best on ground, while Charlie Cameron (two goals) regained a scent for goal after a quiet month for the All-Australian small forward.
The Lions’ triumph came without injured All-Australian fullback Harris Andrews, who could be joined on the sideline by in-form midfielder Jarrod Berry.
Berry hurt his shoulder when slung to the turf in the second term, while goal sneak Linc McCarthy corked his thigh but battled on. Emerging defender Brandon Starcevich (concussion) was also a first-half casualty.
Second-gamer Jack Payne impressed with four first-quarter marks on Suns key forward Ben King as he filled in Andrews.
But Berry’s potential absence in the Lions’ engine room is another headache for coach Chris Fagan, who was this week adamant they have the depth to cover their key defender.
Captain Dayne Zorko (two goals) kicked the first goal of the match inside 30 seconds, with Cameron Rayner twice involved as they sliced through the guts of the Suns’ defence.
The Lions kicked five goals in the opening quarter and hit the post twice, Eric Hipwood terrorising in-form Gold Coast defender Sam Collins to set the tone as the hosts led 5.4 (34) to 1.0 (6) at the first change.
Rayner was denied a career-best four-goal haul through his own doing, his red-hot night cooling when he played on and missed a snap from almost directly in front of goal.
Mitch Robinson ensured that did not hurt the Lions, having been gifted a goal when Connor Budarick volleyed a ball already out of bounds into the stands.
A hungry Cameron, who missed two attempts from point-blank range, iced the contest with a long-range snap as the Lions led by 41 points at the final break.
Neale had 20 disposals by half-time, while Keidean Coleman was slick and composed in his second match, and Daniel Rich constantly rebounded in defence.
Lachie Weller provided some run and carry as the Suns tried to work into the contest ahead of half-time, with Jack Lukosius and Brandon Ellis busy on a forgettable night for the Suns.