Signs of life in the Den: Brisbane Lions 2012 Season Review

With the demons of Fevola buried, the Brisbane Lions are showing signs of life once again.

Ladder Position: 13th

Win-Loss and Percentage: 10-12, 91.01%

The Season

In a season that surpassed any realistic expectations, the Brisbane Lions have well and truly shown signs that they’re on the way back.

Ten wins for the year is a big improvement on four for last season, but most impressively for Brisbane fans would be the victories over top-two (at the time) sides West Coast and Adelaide.

Heading into their round 10 clash against the Lions, West Coast sat on top of the table and were unbackable favourites. From the opening bounce, though, it was clear that an energised Brisbane had shown up.

After momentum swung back and forth throughout a surprisingly close game, the now famous James Polkinghorne goal from the centre square with just over a minute left sealed the match that will go down in club folklore.

Their win over the Crows was similarly impressive. In an audition of sorts for star Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett, the Lions recovered from a woeful first quarter to get over the line in dramatic fashion, while also starting a three-match winning streak to end the year.

But what’s equally pleasing for the club is that they quite convincingly won every match they were supposed to, quashing the upset losses to clubs like the Gold Coast and Melbourne that have been a frustratingly recurring theme throughout the last few seasons for the club.

To add to this, they’ve unearthed some great talent. Dayne Zorko is the one you will have heard about, but Mitch Golby, Claye Beams, Elliot Yeo and Josh Green have had similarly exciting seasons and Brisbane no doubt have high hopes that they’ll take the next step to establish themselves as permanent best 22 players next season.

Free Agents

Jonathan Brown (unrestricted): Only a matter of time until an extension is signed off. Will be going nowhere.

Simon Black (unrestricted): Similarly to Brown, will play on in 2013 at the Lions. Small details being sorted out before he signs.

Ashley Mcgrath (unrestricted): The window for him to return home to play for one of the Western Australian clubs has almost undoubtedly passed. He’ll play out his career as a Lion.

Josh Drummond (restricted): It’s hard to see another club taking a punt on the classy defender whose career has been often sadly hampered by injuries. Likely to be in Brisbane colours still next season.

Draft picks

8, 23, 30, 49, 67

Needs from the draft and trade period

The biggest challenge for the Lions no doubt lies in the key posts. They’ve got a very good young midfield group, two of the most potential-filled young ruckmen in the competition in Matthew Leuenberger and Billy Longer, and also some clever small forwards and composed small backs.

With Jonathan Brown, Daniel Merrett and Matt Maguire all on the wrong side of twenty-eight, though, the development of players such as Jordan Lisle, Justin Clarke, Sam Michael, Aaron Cornelius and Bryce Retzlaff (assuming the last two aren’t de-listed or traded) will be paramount to how strong a side this Lions group can be.

That’s why Kurt Tippett will be heavily pursued in this year’s trade period. Don’t be surprised to see the club draft a few key position prospects too. The off season will be very telling in determining whether or not the Lions can build on a season where great potential was shown. Chairman Angus Johnson has given the clear directive to the club’s recruitment staff to ‘strengthen our list’, so it’s possible that Brisbane still have a great deal of action ahead of them before 2012 is over.

Patrick Karnezis: Trade bait?

Potential trade-bait

Todd Banfield: An electrifying player at his best, but has had a very average 2012 and could return home to WA if one of West Coast or Fremantle offer something enticing.

Aaron Cornelius: A talented forward who just hasn’t had a break-out performance yet. Has some of the safest hands you’ll find and would hate to leave the club, but his inability to cement a spot in their best 22 would suggest he might be on the outer.

Patrick Karnezis: The club would be absolutely loath to give him up, but there have been homesick rumours for some time. At any rate, it’s incredibly unlikely he’ll leave before his current contract runs out at the end of next season.

Potential targets

Kurt Tippett: The one most commonly linked with the Lions. Common consensus would say he’s coming back to Queensland, but they may have a battle on their hands to convince him the trip down the M1 to the Gold Coast isn’t too far to drive.

Xavier Ellis: A rumour that has been doing the rounds for some time. He might jump at the opportunity to play more senior footy.

Alex Silvagni: Inexplicably unpopular with Ross Lyon, yet very popular with former coach and now Brisbane assistant Mark Harvey. Could add to the Lions’ KPD depth.

Gold Coast Suns: Could be a few of them on Brisbane’s radar. Is revenge on the cards?

Expectations for 2013

An optimistic guess would be a finals appearance. With none of this year’s finalists looking likely to drop out, though, and Richmond, Carlton and Essendon all strong chances of pushing their way in, the Lions will have their work well and truly cut out.

Lions end 2012 with a mighty roar

Hudson celebrates a win with fans (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77047082@N07)

BRISBANE LIONS             1.4    9.7    14.12   19.14  (128)
WESTERN BULLDOGS    0.3    2.5     4.6       9.7      (61)

Brisbane has capped off an impressive season with a comprehensive 67-point belting of the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba.

The win leaves the Lions finishing the season with 10 wins, a noticeable improvement on last season while providing fans with plenty of optimism heading into 2013.

Daniel Rich was superb for the victorious team, racking up 25 disposals and 4 goals in a clear best on ground display.

Rich received great support Claye Beams and Pearce Hanley, who help orchestrate the Lions breakaway.

From the Bulldogs perspective, perhaps the most promising player of the day was Adam Cooney, who looks to be showing signs of reaching a level near his Brownlow winning form of 2008.

The first quarter was the perfect illustration of why both teams would be sitting out in the upcoming finals series, with the intensity matching that of a training run.

Indeed, there was only the one solitary goal for the opening quarter, that belonging to young Jordan Lisle, to hand Brisbane a seven point lead at quarter time.

An exhilarating second quarter for the Lions more than made up for the snore fest delivered in the first, piling on nine goals to the Bulldogs two to steam past the struggling Dogs.

The Lions piled on the first six goals in just 12 minutes to completely blow the game away.

Rich was integral to the destruction at handing, booting two goals for the quarter while also imposing himself as a midfield general.

Captain Jonathan Brown was also up and about, kicking two of his eventual five goals for the game in the second quarter assault.

Tory Dickson and Shaun Higgins did their best to stem the damage, adding the Dogs first two goals of the game 15 and 24 minutes in to the second quarter.

It was no where near enough to keep the Dogs close though as the Lions had marched out to a 44 point lead at half time.

When the Lions, through Brown and Redden, got Brisbane off to another fast start in the third quarter, the alarm bells were well and truly sounding in the Bulldogs coaching box as a humiliating end to the season loomed ominous.

The Young Dogs though managed to show some composure though, kicking two goals to the Lions one over the next 20 minutes of football.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, two very late goals to Hanley and Raines witnessed the margin extend out to an even 11 goals at the final break of the season.

To the Bulldogs credit, they firmly held their heads high in the final quarter, matching the Lions five goals for the quarter to only lose the quarter by a solitary point.
Rich was again magnificent in the quarter, booting two massive goals from range, including a running goal after the siren to cap of an incredibly impressive display from both Rich and the Lions.

The Lions running out deserved victors by 67 points.

VOTES

3) D. Rich

2) P. Hanley

1) C. Beams

BRISBANE LIONS             1.4    9.7    14.12   19.14  (128)
WESTERN BULLDOGS    0.3    2.5     4.6       9.7      (61)  

GOALS
Brisbane Lions:
Brown 5, Rich 4, Bewick 2, Lisle 2, Beams, Green, Polkinghorne, Hanley, Raines, Redden
Western Bulldogs: Higgins 2, Dixon, Grant, Boyd, Cooney, Wallis, Picken, Campbell

BEST
Brisbane Lions:
Rich, Hanley, Beams, Black, Redden, Brown
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Cooney, Murphy, Wood, Higgins, Wallis

INJURIES
Brisbane Lions:
Drummond (virus) replaced in selected side by Buchanan
Western Bulldogs: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Brisbane Lions:
Ryan Harwood replaced Ryan Lester at three-quarter time
Adelaide: Zephaniah Skinner replaced Lin Jong in the third quarter

Reports: Dayne Zorko reported for striking Clay Smith in the fourth quarter

Umpires: Stewart, Armstrong, Mitchell

Official crowd: 18,289 at the Gabba

Check out the thoughts of both sets of supporters over on BigFooty today.

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

Lions itching to go 3 in a row

Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs

WHERE AND WHEN: The Gabba, Sunday September 2, 4.40pm
LAST TIME: Brisbane Lions 18.6 (114) d Western Bulldogs 7.14 (56), round 13, 2012, at Etihad Stadium

Ryan Griffen will need to be at his best for the Dogs to have a real chance at the Gabba.

The final game of the home and away season is a battle of the lesser lights, but one that is set to be important for each side despite their ladder placing.

The Brisbane Lions are coming off successive wins against the top 4 placed Crows at home and the lowly Port away, while the Western Bulldogs will want to continue the improved form they showed against Geelong at the fortress of Simonds Stadium last weekend.

The Dogs and Lions win/loss records have almost flipped from each other in 2011, with the Lions currently sitting on 9 wins (up from 4) with the Dogs on 5 (down from 9). Despite this, the Dogs are still a far more experienced side and the Lions will not want to take them lightly; if they do, they risk a chance of a shock loss and the undoing of some of their good work over the past fortnight.

The good news for the Dogs is that they fought hard against Geelong in a situation where many expected decimation. Although a 34 point loss might not sound like much to be excited about, the improvement from youngsters along with the scintillating form of Ryan Griffen and Matthew Boyd would have had Bulldogs’ fans smiling. Also promising was Adam Cooney, who’s degenerative knee condition led many to believe his career may be over, recording his highest disposal count in what was probably his best game for 2012.

The bad news is that the Lions monstered them in their previous clash this season. Away from home, Brisbane kicked 10 goals to 2 after half-time to record a 58 point victory. Midfielder Tom Rockliff had one of the best games of his career, reaching 40 disposals for the first time and booting 2 goals. He is currently carrying what looks to be a slight groin injury and has been down on form, but midfielders like Jack Redden, Andrew Raines, Daniel Rich and first year sensation Dayne Zorko have been more than adequate in stepping up to the plate.

The respective forward set-ups look to be much different this time around. Ashley McGrath and Daniel Merrett kicked 5 and 4 respectively in round 13, but McGrath is injured and Merrett has been shifted back to defense. The onus falls on Jonathan Brown, Jordan Lisle and small forward Josh Green to kick the score with assistance from the midfield. Daniel Giansiracusa was the Dogs only multiple goalkicker in the last encounter, but it looks like he will play second fiddle to Jarrad Grant after he was impressive with 3 goals against Geelong, helping the Dogs find the forward they have been screaming out for.

Another added spark to the clash is that former Bulldogs ruckman Ben Hudson may be playing his last game. At 33 it’s a flip of the coin whether the Lions can coax Hudson into going around again. If he does retire, it seems only fitting that he would do so against the team he played the bulk of his career against.

Will this be Ben Hudson’s last game in the AFL? (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77047082@N07)

The Brisbane Lions haven’t won 3 games in a row since 2010 and will be itching to finish off 2012 with a bang.

Key Players

Jarrad Grant – Can he back up his game from last week? The Dogs need a focal point and he provided one against the Cats. As a high draft pick he hasn’t come along as expected, but if he has another good game it could go a long way to helping the Dogs get an upset.

Ryan Griffen – After two gigantic games Griffen will need to fire again to give the Dogs a shot. Lions’ tagger Andrew Raines seems to be improving his shut-down efforts each game and will most likely go to Griffen as the opposition’s most damaging player. Griffen will need to shake off the tag and keep up his form at the Gabba.

Dayne Zorko – Zorko was rewarded with 10 coaches votes against Port Adelaide and with good reason. He isn’t the most elegant player in the AFL but for his size his tackling pressure, ball extraction and goal-kicking ability is titanic. He averages nearly 20 disposals and 7 tackles along with a goal a game in his first season and doesn’t seem like he’ll slow down in the final round.

Jordan Lisle – ‘Moose’ has been quiet up forward in his first few games for the Lions, but has provided a target and taken some strong marks. This is his chance to convert against a stretched Bulldogs defense which will likely be without Brian Lake.

Prediction: Lions by 32

Brave Lions conquer Power

Brisbane conquered Port Adelaide

PORT ADELAIDE   5.2   8.3    14.8   14.9 (93)
BRISBANE LIONS  5.3   10.6  12.7   16.8 (104)

Brisbane has continued to finish its season strongly, accounting for a disappointing Port Adelaide by 11 points at AAMI Stadium.

The Lions handled the wet conditions much better than Port, who fell in a heap from a winnable position in the last quarter.

Led by by their captain Jonathan Brown who booted four goals, the Lions in the end proved to be too experienced when it mattered.

The Lions were quick to get underway, with youngsters Josh Green and Rohan Bewick kicking the first two goals of the game to skip away to a 12 point lead.

It seemingly looked like another bleak day for Port before Matt Thomas finally got the opening goal for the home team, which saw the start of a scintillating 8 minute spell for the Power. Thomas’ was followed in quick succession with goals to Schulz, Broadbent, Stewart and Boak provided a glimpse of what this Port team was capable of.

What followed showed however that it was the exception, rather than the rule as Port resumed normal transmission by committing poor turnovers and indisciplined acts to concede the last three goals of the quarter to Brisbane, as the Lions through Brown kicked a goal on the siren to go in a point ahead.

A Westhoff goal got Port’s second quarter underway with style, giving the home team back the lead. Goals to Beams and Brown however quickly returned the lead back to Brisbane.

Discipline was again becoming an issue for Port, as they continued to release the pressure on Brisbane by giving away cheap free kicks and 50metre penalties. Ebert continued with his good afternoon, responding to Brisbane’s consecutive goals before Brown once again gave the Lions breathing space.

Broadbent once again brought Port back under a goal before Green and Zorko capped off a good half with goals to put the Lions up by 15 points at half time.

The third quarter a reversal of roles, as Brisbane’s ill-discipline and lack of pressure resulted in a flourish of Port Adelaide goals.

The Power kicked the first five goals of the quarter to blot back in to the lead by as much as 17 points, as Brisbane stagnated like a team with no desperation to win. Brown managed to steady the ship for the Lions, going back to kick his fourth goal of the game. It was responded to very quickly as young dribbled through the answering goal to restore the margin.

A late goal to Zorko gave the visitors some hope going in to the final quarter, with the three quarter time margin at 13 points.

As it turned out, that faint hope is all the Lions needed. On again, the roles were reversed as Brisbane looked like the team that was playing to win. It resulted in Brisbane kicking the only four goals of the quarter, as Port Adelaide capitulated. Indeed, there was only one minute of game time remaining when Port Adelaide registered their only score of the quarter, a behind.

The Lions going on to claim their ninth win of the season by 11 points.

VOTES

3) Jonathan Brown

2) Jack Redden

1) Dayne Zorko

PORT ADELAIDE   5.2   8.3    14.8   14.9 (93)
BRISBANE LIONS  5.3   10.6  12.7   16.8 (104)

GOALS
Port Adelaide:
Broadbent (3), Westhoff (2), Schulz (2), Boak, Brett Ebert, Lobbe, Paul Stewart, Thomas, Young, Wingard
Brisbane Lions: Brown (4), Green (3), Zorko (3), Beams (2), Bewick, Lisle, Redden, Raines

BEST
Port Adelaide:
Brad Ebert, Travis Boak, Matthew Broadbent, Justin Westhoff, Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz
Brisbane Lions: Jonathan Brown, Jack Redden, Dayne Zorko, Simon Black, Daniel Rich, Andrew Raines

INJURIES
Port Adelaide:
Nil
Brisbane Lions: Nil

SUBSTITUTIONS:
Port Adelaide:
Danyle Pearce replaced Nathan Blee at half-time.
Brisbane Lions: Josh Drummond replaced Jordan Lisle at three-quarter time.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Fila, Armstrong

Official crowd: 13,953 at AAMI Stadium

Check out the thoughts of both teams supporter on BigFooty today.

Port Adelaide

Brisbane Lions

Brisbane to Complete South Australian Sweep

WHERE AND WHEN: AAMI Stadium, Saturday August 25, 1.40pm

Brisbane will be looking to make it two wins in a row against South Australian teams when they face Port Adelaide.

The Lions pulled off the upset of the round last week defeating Adelaide at home. This was the second top 5 team they have beaten for the year which will not only give them confidence going into this week but into the future as well.

Port Adelaide were not so lucky, they left interim coach Gary Hocking still searching for his first win after a 48 point loss to West Coast. If anything they made his short time as coach even worse managing only one goal up to half time.

The Power should welcome back Travis Boak the week after his late withdrawal from the Eagles game. His inclusion will be important to the Power’s chances but what will be more interesting will be his reaction to what may be his last game at AAMI for Port Adelaide.

The Lions will lose some experience down back in the form of Matt Maguire who was subbed off last week with an injury.

What Brisbane Will Want To See

The theme that Brisbane will want too see in their performance this week will be consistency. Last week’s incredible win will lack any credibility if they lose this week. As a team that will be looking to make final in a couple of years the first step is backing up good performances and beating the teams below you.

They will also want to see constancy in the individual players. If players like Rohan Bewick can continually chip in with two and three goal performances, the team will become a lot stronger.

What Port Adelaide Will Want To See   

The Power would love to snatch a win for Gary Hocking and this may be the only chance to do so. With Richmond away next week seems like the only opportunity with the home ground advantage.

They would also like to see a 4 quarter effort. A loss to a better team might be acceptable, but producing one goal halves does not cut it for the coach, supporter or anyone involved.

Finally they want to see Travis Boak not looking like he just played his last game at home for Port ant the end of the game.

Prediction

Port Adelaide’s season has been over for a while now, the don’t even look like challenging any team they meet and it will not be much different this week.

Brisbane on the other hand keep on playing hard, trying to build experience. Their performance last week showed how much talent they have and Port should be a walk in the park in comparison.

Brisbane by 46

 

 

Crows Lion up for top spot on the ladder

WHEN and WHERE: Saturday August 18, 7:40pm, Gabba

Adelaide, with some recent gritty wins and their soft draw, look set to charge into top spot of the AFL ladder while the Lions are looking forward to their end of season trip.

The past two meetings of the two sides have been spit one apiece, the Lions beating the Crows by 40 at AAMI in round ten last year, while Adelaide beat Brisbane by five at the Gabba in round 20, their second win on the trot here.

The Crows have severely dented the top eight hopes of Essendon and Fremantle in recent weeks, and with Brisbane – who have lost five of their past six matches – then Melbourne and GWS to come look set to finish the AFL season top of the pops and earn a home final.

Brisbane were trounced by the Eagles in Perth in round 18, and have fared only marginally better against Richmond and Carlton in the last fortnight, and seem to be just limping to season’s end. Perhaps the only bright point of the northern visit of the Crows will be the fact Kurt Tippett shall be meeting with his management in Brisbane to decide his future Friday night, with the Lions believed to have offered him a huge contract.

The Crows look set to completely dominate the centre, they average ten more hit outs a game against the Lions in recent seasons, and with their ruckman Sam Jacobs in AFL leading form on the tap, has helped the Crows to number one clearance side in the competition. Scott Thompson has notched up 38 and 36 disposals and 3 votes last time the sides met, and even the suffocating tag of Andrew Raines may struggle to contain him.

Brisbane’s beleaguered defence will be bolstered by the return of Matt Maguire and Josh Drummond, but you feel even they won’t be able to stem the tide against a Crows midfield-and forward line in ominous form. Tippett will be tested after the Crows training on Friday to see if he has overcome his concussion.

Prediction:

Adelaide should win handsomely, but it’s one of those games where a team with nothing to play for can cause consternation for a side coasting and not paying due respect to their opponents.

Crows by 77.

BRISBANE LIONS V ADELAIDE
G – Sat Aug 18, 7:40pm

Brisbane Lions

B: Ryan Harwood, Daniel Merrett, Joel Patfull
HB: Pearce Hanley, Matt Maguire, Jed Adcock
C: Rohan Bewick, Daniel Rich, James Polkinghorne
HF: Jack Redden, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: Tom Rockliff, Jordan Lisle, Joshua Green
Foll: Ben Hudson, Simon Black, Andrew Raines
I/C: Claye Beams, Ryan Lester, Elliot Yeo, Jack Crisp
Emg: Josh Drummond, Sam Docherty, Stephen Wrigley

In: Matt Maguire, Jack Crisp
Out: Todd Banfield, Stephen Wrigley

Adelaide

B: Sam Shaw, Ben Rutten, Michael Doughty
HB: Graham Johncock, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: David Mackay, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo
HF: Richard Douglas, Taylor Walker, Jared Petrenko
F: Matthew Wright, Kurt Tippett, Ian Callinan
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane
I/C: Chris Knights, Bernie Vince, Luke Brown, Josh Jenkins
Emg: Aidan Riley, Richard Tambling, Lewis Johnston

In: Chris Knights, Kurt Tippett, Luke Brown
Out: Aidan Riley, Brodie Smith (Calf), Lewis Johnston

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Brisbane

Adelaide

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread

Merrett escapes while Judd and Ziebell take a hit at the AFL Tribunal

Daniel Merrett has escaped charge. Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/jerkstore/

Carlton’s Chris Judd and North Melbourne’s Jack Ziebell have been suspended by the AFL Tribunal.

Judd was hit with a four week ban for causing intentional misconduct against Kangaroo Leigh Adams. The Blues skipper insisted that he did not intend to hurt Adams, however the Tribunal jury disagreed. Judd was hit with a penalty of 450 points, resulting in a four-match ban.

Carlton said that they were disappointed with the result but decided not to challenge on Wednesday Afternoon. Judd admitted that his action was unacceptable, but again reiterated after the hearing that he never intended to hurt Adams and that he was trying to assist teammate Andrew Carrazzo in stripping the ball from the Kangaroo.

“I’d just like to reiterate that it was never my intention to hurt Leigh Adams.”

The two-time Brownlow Medallist now has another charge to add to his record, which includes eye gouging former Hawk and now Gold Coast hard man Campbell Brown in 2007, which he was cleared of, and making unnecessary face contact during the 2009 Finals Series with former Lion Michael Rischitelli.

North Melbourne’s Jack Ziebell was also rubbed out for four matches. The Kangaroos young gun was originally offered a three-match ban by the Match Review Panel, but decided to try his luck at the Tribunal.

Ziebell was cited for a rough conduct charge on Carlton’s Aaron Joseph during the second quarter of Friday Night’s match. North Melbourne have already announced that they will not challenge the Tribunal’s decision.

Teammates took to twitter to vent their anger, with Drew Petrie tweeting “Advice for @JackZiebell. Stop being so courageous and playing footy hard the way it’s meant to be played. Please turn into a softy.” Rookie Majak Daw also retweeted an angry Kangaroos’ fans tweet.

Earlier in the night, Brisbane’s Daniel Merrett also faced the Tribunal and escaped a level-two charging offence against St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt. Merrett is free to play this weekend after the jury ruled that the offence was negligent and not reckless.

 

Saints See Off Lions

St. Kilda Supporters
Saints fans will be celebrating their win – Flickr/sufw http://www.flickr.com/photos/sufw/

Brisbane Lions            3.3    7.5    10.6    14.8 (92)
St Kilda                       4.0    6.1    10.7    16.9 (105)

St Kilda has reclaimed their position in the top 8 with a thrilling 13-point win against Brisbane at the GABBA.

Both teams contributed to a highly entertaining match in which both teams had finals aspirations on the line.

Clinton Jones was immense for the Saints, picking up 28 disposals and 12 clearances while team mates Lenny Hayes and Ahmed Saad were both influential.

For the Lions, Simon Black and Dayne Zorko were at their classy best, at times single-handedly keeping the Lions in the contest.

Brisbane were the first team to get out of the blocks thanks largely to Zorko, who managed to collect 11 first quarter disposals along with the opening goal.

The match reflected that of a game of kick to kick, with both teams struggling to hit up targets forward of the play due to loose men in defence.

Two goals to Saad and a running goal to Montagna managed to give St Kilda some momentum before a Jonathon Brown goal late brought the margin back to three points at quarter time.

A goal to Armitage got the ball rolling in the second quarter and it looked like the Saints might start to get a run on.

Brisbane responded however, kicking the next three goals and four of the last five of the second quarter to take a 10-point lead to half time.

The third quarter featured an intensity you would expect in a match featuring two teams fighting for their seasons. Momentum seemed to change at will, with each team enjoying periods of ascendancy but never extending the lead further than a few kicks.

The Lions would get a run on before Saad or Stephen Milne took advantage of some sloppy defensive positioning to steal back the lead. St Kilda would enjoy the next few minutes and dominate the general play before the Lions would bounce back and keep the game see sawing.

St Kilda managed to claim a one point lead heading into the final term, setting up what was sure to be a frenetic final term.

Brisbane struck first, kicking the first two goals, but yet again St Kilda responded, kicking four of the next five to open a small lead.

Simon Black responded for Brisbane, kicking a beautiful right foot snap to retake the lead for Brisbane.

It proved to be in vain though as Milne and Arryn Siposs kicked the final two goals of the game to finally finish the contest..

The win leaves St. Kilda well in contention for a top 8 spot, while Brisbane’s finals aspirations seem to be over for another year.

VOTES

3) Clinton Jones

2) Lenny Hayes

1) Ahmed Saad

GOALS
St Kilda: Saad 4, Milne 3, Montagna 2, Riewoldt 2, Armitage 2, Siposs 2, Gilbert
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff 2, Bewick 2, Merrett 2, Karnezis, Black, Zorko, Raines, Polkinghorne, Brown, Cornelius, Banfield

BEST
St Kilda: Jones, Hayes, Saad, Montagna, Fisher, McEvoy, Milne
Brisbane Lions: Black, Zorko, Patfull, Maguire, Hudson, Bewick

INJURIES
St Kilda:
TBC
Brisbane Lions: TBC

SUBSTITUTES
Brisbane Lions: Patrick Karnezis replaced Aaron Cornelius at three-quarter time
St Kilda: Sam Dunell replaced Beau Wilkes at half-time

Reports: Nil

Umpires: McBurney, Hay, Jennings

Official crowd: 19,228 at the Gabba

Brisbane’s Season on the Line

Where and When: The Gabba, Saturday 14 July, 7:40 pm

brisbane lions logo st kilda logoThe Saints travel to the Gabba for what is set to be a very interesting and very much a season-defining clash with the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.

Both teams sit just outside the eight and with a host of other teams looking to hurdle each other for spots in the finals, every game and every bit of ascendancy will be pivotal.

This game will be no exception, and with both teams in good form, it will be an equally significant clash for both sides.

Brisbane

The Lions come into the game in good form despite a heavy loss to Sydney last weekend.

With a large amount of players in impressive touch, their push up the ladder grows in confidence every week.

Their midfield is arguably underrated and very damaging, with Pearce Hanley and Dayne Zorko both stepping up to become prime figures amongst the standard class of Simon Black, Jack Redden, Tom Rockliff, Daniel Rich and others.

With the inclusions of Todd Banfield and Aaron Cornelius, both known goalkickers, they boast a potentially lethal offensive line-up.

If they can contain the Saints when they push forward and use it effectively in the other direction, with the home ground advantage, they will win this one.

St Kilda

The Saints come in as the favourites, as on paper they still have the stars that made them once so  great, but with their omissions it may not appear that they have the edge.

With Brendon Goddard already missing due to suspension, Jack Steven will join him on the sidelines after a club-enforced one-week omission due to a drink-driving offence.

With the usual names such as Nick Dal Santo, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna and David Armitage all there, they still have a strong midfield, but whether it is as good as Brisbane’s this week is a larger debate than normal.

Regardless, if they can win the battle through the centre they have the forward line to stretch any defence – Nick Riewoldt is in great form while Justin Koschitzke and Beau Wilkes provide extra tall service.

Adam Schneider, Stephen Milne, Arryn Siposs and Ahmed Saad on the other end of the spectrum as small forwards can all damage as well, and if they do you’d think the Saints would leave Brisbane with the four points.

Players to Watch

Ryan Harwood: After a fantastic game against the Demons, Harwood really does need to back it up with another good performance this Saturday. Against a potent forward line, as one of few small defenders, he has a big task and his output will be vital.

Ben McEvoy: Against an arguably lesser ruckman in Ben Hudson, McEvoy needs to prove his worth by dominating the ruck battle. With a weakened midfield, he needs to give them all the help he can muster.

Prediction

The Saints will go in as favourites, and understandably, given their track record over the season.

However, Brisbane’s line-up impresses me more, and at home and in good form, they should sneak home.

Brisbane by 15 points

Squads:

Brisbane

B: Josh Drummond, Joel Patfull, Ryan Harwood
HB: Elliot Yeo, Matt Maguire, Jed Adcock
C: Pearce Hanley, Daniel Rich, Jack Redden
HF: Jack Crisp, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Aaron Cornelius
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines
I/C: Simon Black, Todd Banfield, Patrick Karnezis, Rohan Bewick
Emg: Amon Buchanan, Claye Beams, Ryan Lester

In: Simon Black, Todd Banfield, Aaron Cornelius, Matt Maguire, Elliot Yeo
Out: Cheynee Stiller, Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Ryan Lester, Joshua Green

St Kilda

B: Jarryn Geary, Tom Simpkin, James Gwilt
HB: Sean Dempster, Sam Fisher, Sam Gilbert
C: Nick Dal Santo, David Armitage, Beau Wilkes
HF: Ahmed Saad, Nick Riewoldt, Jason Gram
F: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Arryn Siposs
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna
I/C: Clinton Jones, Adam Schneider, Farren Ray, Sam Dunell
Emg: Brett Peake, Jamie Cripps, Daniel Markworth

In: Sam Dunell
Out: Jack Steven (Club Suspension)
New: Sam Dunell (Bendigo Bombers/Old Melburnians)
Milestones: Jason Gram – 150 games

Lions Out To Crush Swans

Sydney Swans vs Brisbane LionsWHEN: Saturday, July 7, 4.40pm
WHERE: SCG, NSW
LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 18.11 (119) d Brisbane Lions 9.13 (67), round 24, 2011 at the SCG

With the Lions making an unforeseen mid-year surge the stakes for this game have risen higher than ever. With both the races for the top 4 and 8 tightening by the minute this becomes a valuable tussle for 4 points.

With the Lions having a poor record at the SCG, their recent form spike could see them attempt a win to put the final 8 in their sights, and can possibly damage the Swans top 4 aspirations.

Why should you tune in?

Sydney: The midfield and ruck duels will be the key given the small confines of the ground so Ben Hudson will have to be at his best against Shane Mumford, with the Swan an expert at shovelling the ball out if it does go to ground. Down back, the Lions could be stretched without Maguire, if Daniel Merrett again plays forward. Adam Goodes and Sam Reid will spend most of their time forward and look to exploit a lack of height if it pans out that way.

John Longmire’s squad has the AFL’s best defensive record this season. But they come up against a Brisbane Lions side that has kicked 18 goals in each of its victories over the Bulldogs and Melbourne. Ted Richards, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson and the rest of the Swans’ back six will need to be on their game at the SCG.

Brisbane: What it will come down to is the ability of the Lions’ aforementioned youngsters – Rockliff, Redden, Rich, Hanley, Polkinghorne and Ryan Harwood – who are running hot, need to match it to the likes of Kieran Jack, Josh Kennedy, McVeigh, Jude Bolton, Daniel Hannebery and Ryan O’Keefe through the middle.

Most obvious element breathing life into the Lions’ season is their willingness to play-on and spread the ball quickly. This flair has started from the halfback line with the laser left boot of Josh Drummond, the increasingly reliable Mitch Golby and the dash of Irishman Pearce Hanley all features. Teams like to lock-down Drummond, but, as he showed with 24 touches and three goals against the Demons, Hanley can do just as much damage.

Prediction: The Lions won’t be able to match the grit of the Swans. The in and under players and tight confines of the SCG will see the Swans look to strangle and suffocate the Lions outfit.
Swans by 29.

Teams

Sydney Swans

B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Martin Mattner, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta
HF: Daniel Hannebery, Sam Reid, Ben McGlynn
F: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Adam Goodes, Ryan O’Keefe
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Craig Bird, Mike Pyke, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong

Emg: Nick Malceski, Jesse White, Trent Dennis-Lane

Brisbane Lions

B: Josh Drummond, Joel Patfull, Ryan Harwood
HB: Pearce Hanley, Niall McKeever, Jed Adcock
C: Ryan Lester, Daniel Rich, Cheynee Stiller
HF: Simon Black, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Jack Redden
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines
I/C: Patrick Karnezis, Joshua Green, Rohan Bewick, Jack Crisp

Emg: Aaron Cornelius, Claye Beams, Elliot Yeo

In: Cheynee Stiller, Patrick Karnezis, Jack Crisp
Out: Ashley McGrath (Leg), Mitchell Golby (Foot), Jared Polec (Foot)

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