With Luke Hodge a late out, the Lions were left with Ryan Lester as his replacement, meaning others needed to step up and command the backline. They did so, perhaps not as convincingly as Hodge, but Brisbane broke a seven-year drought nonetheless.
The big forwards failed to fire as the small guys like Charlie Cameron and Eddie Betts had three goals each. A frantic pace from both sides was actually good to see in a season where discretion is the preferred manner of play, and when the result was up for grabs in the fourth quarter, both sides were showing what it meant to them. It was a great finals-like clash in May.
The Lions pressed forward well, but it allowed Adelaide too often to get out the back, which is how they got their first goal, Elliott Himmelberg allowed to stroll into goal.
Neale is electric out of the centre clearances, which allows the Lions to press inside 50, and quickly too. He had 12 clearances for the game, which puts him in just a handful of players who’ve been able to hit double figures in that category.
Since when have we seen a ruckman with a tap down to another ruckman at a stoppage? The Big O found Stef Martin for an almost-goal in the first quarter, and had it not been punched over the line by Luke Brown it may have been a first for 2019. However, it was more than just the spoil from the defender. Luke Brown got into a position to disallow the Lions forward position at the drop of the ball, then got his fist on the ball. Great use of the body, and complete defence.
The Crows are actually quite adept at trapping the ball, and opposition players in their forward 50, with the Lions caught out a few times. Turnovers via smothers went a long way to getting their second goal through Gibbs.
Jarryd Lyons is a very crafty player. His toepoke volley was a great sight, and man, wish he had’ve kicked that checkside.
We are all aware that the Lions have many gifted big men, and if they can rove as well, like Dan McStay did to get one on the board, Brisbane will be a real handful as the season wears on.
Sidestepping by Tom Lynch is something we didn’t see much of last year, but he has been on-song the last few rounds. His agility was a great set-up for Eddie Betts on the lead, though Daniel Rich may have had something to say about the umpire getting in his running path as he tried to close the gap. The kick was always going to favor Betts when he got a metre or two, but visually, it did look as though the umpire’s positioning impeded Rich. Happens sometimes.
I’ll speak more on the umpire’s decisions later, but Eddie Betts’ throw out to Bryce Gibbs for a late first half goal was missed by the umpire. I mean, throwing the ball with two hands at that speed, when there are three umpires with eyes on the action… it’s baffling how it was missed.
Hipwood honestly runs hard inside 50 and the commentators continually spoke about his development over the course of the broadcast, but for a fourth-year player, how much more development does he need?
Props to Alex Keath running back with the flight and colliding with Kyle Hartigan. Two defenders going down and looking groggy wasn’t what Don Pyke and the Crows needed but both got up of their own accord. That collision was brutal, and though Hipwood failed to capitalize on the situation, missing the ensuing shot as both opponents lay motionless on the deck, the thoughts of everyone were with the Crows players. It made the shot at goal seem inconsequential.
Okay, more umpires. Eric Hipwood should’ve had a kick in front of goal as a result of a 50m penalty when Lachlan Murphy ran right in front of him while attempting to short-cut through and follow his opposite number. With all the “protected zone” garbage we all put up with through the first few rounds, how can they allow a bloke to infringe so blatantly and not penalize him at all? Another one missed.
Hipwood launching himself across the front of the pack was a sight to behold, and the fact that it came on the end of a booming 70 metre Daniel Rich bomb made it all the better. We all like to reminisce about Malcolm Blight’s ball-bursting torpedo way back when, but that Rich kick, from the centre to 20 metres out was huge. If only Hipwood could have converted with a goal, huh? It is very troubling that he can’t from that distance.
Charlie Cameron started turning it on in the third quarter, against his old club for the first time since moving at the end of 2017. A gamechanger, he kicked two goals in the third quarter and dished off some handballs to teammates in good positions. He did well in the final quarter too, using crafty skills while the ball was on the ground, keeping his balance and providing constant issues for whomever was unlucky enough to play on him.
Taylor Walker kicked one a minute later, which is exactly what was needed from the co-captain and it was game on at the Gabba. The burst from the next stoppage was exactly what the Crows needed, but Lynch dropped a ball that was right on his chest from Rory Atkins. Just flat out dropped it. It could’ve been a game changer.
Great play by Tex Walker to handball over the top to Betts for a late goal. The siren sounded shortly after Betts kicked the goal and it was then hearts broke in the Adelaide camp. You get the feeling had they gone back to the centre and got the break, we may have been singing a different tune in regard to the teams this evening.
Brisbane are continuing to break records this season, having not beaten the Crows before tonight since Round 21, 2012.
I know the umpires have received a lot of stick this year, but there were some calls today that added fuel to the fire. Bashing on umpires is easy; their job is not. But a few were: a missed high contact to Rayner in the forward pocket, kicking in danger against Stefan Martin on Rory Sloane, both of Tex Walker’s in the second quarter.
With the new runner-rules, we’re seeing coaches on the benches more often. I don’t recall seeing Chris Fagan in the box – maybe once,? However, it’s good to see him on the ground teaching and instructing the young Lion cubs as they come off the field.
Mitch Robinson can really pinpoint other players with his kicking, and did so multiple times inside 50. I never thought I’d be praising Robbo for having poise, but he had it on a couple of occasions today. Cool under pressure? It’s not usually something that leaps to mind when I think of Robbo.
Robbo can be hot-headed but it can be responsible for a great spectacle. Probably not for Chris Fagan who saw Tex Walker end up with the ball after Robbo gave away a free kick and a 50 metre penalty. Lucky he missed the shot at goal, but many believe it’s better when Robbo shows his aggression, and walks the fine line between unsociable and unacceptable.
Hipwood is a good kick from around the corner on the boundaries. Shame he can’t kick them in front from the same distance.
Seriously thinking Martin may be like Brodie Grundy. Great player who can get the hitouts, his workrate and ability to win the ball at ground level were a real standout. He can also get forward and take a grab. It was nice to see him slot one.
I haven’t seen too much of Tom Lynch, but he worked up and back so often, and managed to maintain an air of calm at all times when he had the ball. He had eight score involves and two goal assists, but more importantly, 21 disposals at 81%.
Interesting stat came up during the broadcast that in games where Charlie Cameron scores a goal, the Lions win. Came close to breaking that record in this one.
Preaching to the choir here, but Eddie Betts is such a smart player. This was typified by playing on from a free kick to spot Lynch in the third quarter, who kicked his only goal of the game. A silky player in front of goal too, almost snatched a victory.
3. Charlie Cameron
1. Lachie Neale
2. Tom Lynch
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