BRISBANE LIONS 0.3 5.9 10.15 13.17 (95)
ADELAIDE 6.5 7.8 10.9 12.13 (85)
Adelaide has been dealt a serious blow to their top two aspirations on Saturday night, with the Brisbane Lions coming from 38 points down to record a shock victory.
In what should have been an elementary game for the highly touted Crows against a Lions outfit that, frankly, has been awful for the past six weeks, they succumbed to an attacking and high pressure performance which has been far from the norm for the Lions.
Brisbane could often have been called flat-track bullies this year, as before this game six of their seven wins for the season came against teams lower than them on the ladder. But after a shocking game against Gold Coast in which they barely scraped over the line, followed by consecutive thumpings from West Coast, Richmond and Carlton, they pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
Inaccuracy and sloppiness plagued the Lions early, with the Crows slamming on goals seemingly at will and treating the opposition with contempt. The Lions were kept goal-less in their worst quarter for the year, while the Crows marched on with little trouble.
A highlight was a Bernie Vince goal in which he deftly sidestepped opponents twice and slotted a goal, leaving Brisbane defenders grabbing at air.
Injuries had already crept into the game, with two important defenders receiving work on the bench. Impressive young Crows defender Daniel Talia came off with a corked thigh, while the important Matt Maguire, returning after two weeks of injury, again succumbed to his troublesome ankle. Both were subbed off before the third quarter.
The second and third quarter were all Brisbane. Tension slowly in the crowd and the commentary box started to raise as Brisbane rained on the goals after finally slotting their first at the six-minute mark of the second through Rohan Bewick.
After such a dismal start, they somehow led by six points at the final change, slamming on 10 goals to four. The Crows will rue a lapse that allowed a lead to turn into a deficit, as Simon Black, Andrew Raines and unlikely goal-kicker Ben Hudson banged goals through in quick succession. Hudson’s reaction was ecstatic and the Lions seemed to have genuine belief.
The two sides went goal for goal in the final term, a huge arm wrestle that led to some incredibly attacking football. After Ian Callinan booted a goal with less than two minutes remaining, the deficit was sliced to four and the Crows could smell blood.
Enter Tom Rockliff. The young Lion had an awful day by his standards, but stood up when it counted and kicked the clutch goal with 49 seconds on the clock.
Crow’s general Scott Thompson went head-to-head with Jack Redden in a fascinating duel. Both were fantastic (Thompson 32 touches, 8 clearances and Redden 30 touches, 7 clearances, 9 tackles), but Redden, and his side, just took home the chocolates.
Patrick Dangerfield, as he has been all season, was brilliant and the Crows best. The Lions backmen were fantastic, with Daniel Merrett completely shutting out returning Crows big-man Kurt Tippett, who had a woeful day. Merrett was ably assisted down back by Jed Adcock, Pearce Hanley and teenager Ryan Lester, who had the best game of his young career.
Tippett’s inclusion against his possible future club added further interest to the duel down back. His partner in crime, Taylor Walker, picked up the slack and finished with four goals.
After worrying signs to finish the season, the Lions have claimed their second top four scalp of the season, while the Crows will have to smash through their final two games against weak opponents to claim the all-important home final.
3 – Jack Redden (BRIS)
2 – Patrick Dangerfield (ADEL)
1 – Ryan Lester (BRIS)
Brisbane Lions: Bewick 3, Rich 2, Brown 2, Black, Hudson, Lisle, Polkinghorne, Raines, Rockliff
Adelaide: Walker 4, Callinan 4, Jenkins, Johncock, Petrenko, Vince
Brisbane Lions: Redden, Black, Adcock, Zorko, Hanley, Rich, Lester
Adelaide: Thompson, Walker, Dangerfield, Shaw, Callinan