The Brisbane Lions have got their season back on track after a second-half demolition of the Gold Coast Suns in the 21st edition of the Q Clash.
The Lions overcame a sluggish first half to run out 49-point winners against a tiring Suns outfit at the Gabba.
The win keeps Brisbane’s top four chances alive after a few horror weeks that saw them soundly beaten by both St Kilda and Richmond.
The match was trending in the same direction for the Lions as an inspired Gold Coast jumped them to take a 27-point lead into the half.
The Suns' first half was fantastic and brought with them a high-pressure game that has been so successful in recent wins over Richmond and the Giants.
It’s not as if Brisbane were playing badly but they were once again let down by some awful kicking in front of goal, with Joe Daniher one of the main culprits.
However, the Lions came out of the sheds after half time looking a completely different outfit. With their season on the line, they had to show something and they delivered in spades.
The second half resurgence was led by midfielders Hugh McCluggage and Jarryd Lyons who were well fed by a dominant Oscar McInerney in the ruck.
Stuart Dew will be scratching his head after a horrible second half fadeout that saw Brisbane kick 11 goals in a row to reduce the match to a training drill.
The loss will hurt even more after former Sun Lyons won his second Marcus Ashcroft Medal on the trot, once again highlighting what has turned out to be a terrible list management decision from the Suns.
To top it all off, Dayne Zorko kicked a barrel after the siren from outside 50 metres to put the cherry on top of a commanding win.
Here's everything you need to know!
Life After Hipwood:
It looked for all money that Brisbane’s premiership chances were dashed when leading forward Eric Hipwood went down with a season-ending knee injury against St Kilda.
Hipwood had been the Lions main forward option and often attracted the opposition's best defender before he went down. The injury shook up the Lions structure forward of the ball but that issue seemed to resolve itself today against the Suns.
Lincoln McCarthy starred again with four goals and was ably supported by Charlie Cameron and Joe Daniher who kicked three majors each.
However, Daniher’s accuracy continues to be an issue with the big forward struggling to hit the target from further than 20 metres out. He’s not alone in that department, with Charlie Cameron missing some fairly straightforward set shots.
If the Lions are to go deep into September, they’ll need to sort out their kicking for goal.
That Jarryd Lyons deal:
Unfortunately for Gold Coast, this list management decision will come back to haunt them for as long as Lyons is playing football.
The on-baller was instrumental in lifting his side from a first-half slump to eventual runaway winners. With Lachie Neale putting in a quiet performance, the former Sun was the one to lift and was integral around the stoppages, an area the Lions were well beaten in the first half.
He would finish the match with 33 disposals (18 contested), six tackles, six marks and 574 metres gained in a best on ground performance.
The win was a much-needed one for the Lions to get their season back on track. They finish the season with four winnable games against Hawthorn, Fremantle, Collingwood and West Coast. If they play as they did in the second half then a top-four spot isn’t out of the question.
Gold Coast faces a tough match against the Demons next week before finishing the season with games against Carlton, Essendon and Sydney. Their second-half fadeout may have put a line through their hopes of a late finals push.
Brisbane: 2.4, 4.9, 9.14, 17.18. (120)
Gold Coast: 3.3, 9.6, 9.8, 10.11. (71)
Brisbane: McCarthy 4, Cameron 3, Daniher 3, Robinson 2, Ah Chee 2, McStay, Neale, Zorko
Gold Coast: King 3, Corbett 3, Ainsworth, Rowell, Sexton, Sharp
Brisbane: Lyons, McInerney, McCluggage, McCarthy, Robinson, Andrews, Starcevich
Gold Coast: Fiorini, Miller, Sharp, Lukosius, Powell