BRISBANE has delivered the greatest indication yet they will not only return to AFL finals but are capable of doing some damage, overwhelming GWS in a 20-point upset win at Giants Stadium.
The Lions claimed the Giants’ top-four spot on Sunday in impressive fashion, snatching a 20-point lead at quarter-time before withstanding several challenges to prevail 14.10 (94) to 11.8 (74).
Lions Eric Hipwood and Luke Hodge both played on after copping painful knocks, with the former clearly restricted but still bobbing up with a clutch third-term goal after a pack mark.
The hosts also had their injury woes, most alarmingly Josh Kelly’s iced-up leg problem that ended the superstar’s evening during the fourth quarter.
Brisbane’s first win at the venue came in front of 12,268 fans.
The challenge for Chris Fagan, barring an unexpected capitulation in the second half of 2019, is no longer whether he can end Brisbane’s 10-year finals hiatus.
Fagan’s charges, who next face Port Adelaide away then four teams currently outside the top eight, have a golden chance to lock up a double chance in September.
GWS forwards Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron kept their side in the contest after a slow start, kicking a combined four goals in the second term, while Harry Himmelberg finished with a game-high four.
But the Lions had match winners all over the park in a spiteful affair, emphatically answering those still doubting their ability to perform outside Queensland against potent teams.
Gun midfielder Lachie Neale’s 150th game was one to remember, featuring 31 disposals, six tackles, seven clearances, one goal and most likely three Brownlow votes.
Harris Andrews, tackling GWS for the first time since suffering a severe concussion and bleeding on the brain because of a hit from Cameron in 2018, and Hodge marshalled a desperate defence superbly.
Lincoln McCarthy booted three goals in arguably the best performance of a brilliant first season with Brisbane.
The Lions moved the ball with precision and pace, while their pressure resulted in uncharacteristic errors from some of GWS’s most-reliable stars like Heath Shaw.
Shaw’s short kick-out in the second term was easily picked off by Dayne Zorko; Cam Rayner kicked the resultant goal then let Shaw know all about it.
GWS confront Richmond, Collingwood and Port in a stretch that might make or break their premiership credentials.
Sunday’s contest started with one of the most-bizarre score reviews of the year when GWS youngster Harry Perryman clearly took possession in the goal square and stumbled over the line but umpires wanted to take another look.
© AAP 2019
BRISBANE LIONS 4.4 8.7 12.10 14.10 (94)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 5.5 8.6 11.8 (74)
Goals: Brisbane Lions: L McCarthy 3 C Cameron 2 A Christensen C Rayner D McStay E Hipwood H McCluggage J Berry J Lyons L Neale Z Bailey. Greater Western Sydney: H Himmelberg 4 T Greene 3 J Cameron 2 J Finlayson Z Williams.
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Dean Margetts, Brent Wallace.
Official Crowd: 12,268 at Giants Stadium.