Brisbane v Gold Coast – The Stuff

Ah, the Q-Clash. The renewal of hostilities between the Lions and Suns for footballing dominance in Queensland. The ledger isn’t pretty for the Suns right now, as Brisbane lead the tally 17-6 before this game, after claiming the previous eight consecutive meetings between the teams. Some by some pretty big margins.

However, this Gold Coast team are on the improve. They pushed Melbourne all the way to the final siren a couple of weeks ago, and then comfortably accounted for the lacklustre Eagles in Perth. They’re an honest football team and this was sort of game they should be expecting to be right in the contest for, against quality opposition. And they are up against quality opposition.

Brisbane came into this clash on a six-game winning streak, which started with them inflicting Collingwood’s only loss for the season. The Lions look to have fixed up their minor deficiencies from previous seasons and are genuinely in the premiership contender discussion for 2023.

Enough Preamble let’s get into the stuff that mattered…


The Best Stuff


The Brisbane Midfield

The Lions have just got this right (along with a few other things). It starts with big Oscar McInerney in the ruck and then down to an absolutely stacked group of on ballers. No longer reliant on Lachie Neale to do all the hard work on his own (although he was still machine in this match), this group is now fully formed with the additions of Dunkley and Ashcroft.

They have balanced their outside class with enough inside grunt to go with any team in the competition. Dunkley has folded in perfectly next to Neale, with Jarrod Berry now spending most of his time on the wing, with the ability to go in and cause chaos when required, along with Cam Rayner.

Ashcroft just plays like a kid far beyond his years. His football IQ is off the charts. It’s hard for some people to hear, but it is Selwood-esque the way he has come into this side, which was already pretty good and had an immediate impact to make them better. It’s got to be the hair, feathered and lethal. You just don’t see it nowadays.

Add in the continued development of Bailey and McCluggage on the other wing and the Lions mix looks incredibly balanced and ready to strike.

I will not let this go until people start acknowledging how right Brisbane have got it this year!


Bailey Humphrey

No lie, I was not 100% I knew who this player was before the game. But after this game, I will not forget the name, or the style of play. Honestly, it was like Humphrey had a magnet in his shorts or something at times during the first quarter. Everywhere he went, the ball would just follow him. And it was telling that things went well for the Gold Coast wen he got the ball. This guy was in his eighth game, and other than Ballard, would’ve been the Suns’ best player.


Charlie Ballard

Speaking of Ballard, the number one intercept marker in the AFL continued to enhance his reputation in this match. Ballard took the points clearly against Hipwood, although Hipwood did manage to hit the scoreboard late. Ballard out-positioned Hipwood consistently throughout the game, although some of the kicking to him left a lot to be desired. It’s scary to think what this Suns’ defence would look like without him. Much like the GWS Giants are finding out without Sam Taylor.


The Good Stuff


The Big Forwards

Ben King and Joe Daniher both had some very good moments in this game. Strong marks, big leads and some crucial goals. Both have suffered from some wayward kicking at times, but overall, when either of them got involved in the game, the excitement lifted for this mongrel. And when they converted, it looked like their team couldn’t be beaten.

King particularly had a couple of very poor shots early that he should dwell on and want to improve if his team is going to be able to as well.


Will Powell

Very good game from Powell. Provided plenty of run for the Suns and was even able to spend time on Charlie Cameron quite comfortably. A real asset for Dew to utilise. Particularly good in the second half when the Suns were rallying to try and claw their way back.


Sean Lemmens

Lemmens was very good at curtailing the presence of Charlie Cameron. He held Cameron to a solitary disposal in the first quarter, and then Cameron received a very soft free kick in the second quarter to register one of his two goals for the match. He didn’t let Cameron get goal side and that is really the key in playing him. And even on the occasion Cameron turned and had the goals in his sights, Lemmens was already there with arms out harassing him. Fair play to Cameron though as he did provide a special couple moments in the third quarter when the Lions looked like they might be able to get a serious score on the board.


The Ruck Duel

The battle of the two primary ruckman was a classic. Two very big established rucks that you could argue are both underrated due to playing outside of Victoria. Witts had the ascension in the actual ruck contest, but McInerney had the bigger presence around the ground. It was a fairly split decision but the Big O holds onto the Mongrel title as the reigning ruck champion.



There was some very good moments in the commentary of this game. Dwayne Russell is a great commentator and there will be no acceptance of any slander. Kelli Underwood has a mixed reputation but by virtue of continuing to get a gig, she will continue to feel more comfortable in the role. They were supported by some great special comments on the game. The wordplay from the team was Commetti-esque although no one will ever liver up to the legend. It was worth noting that they did a lot right as people love to pot them when they make mistakes (much like the umpires). Although at times it felt like Dermott Brereton had a thesaurus on hand with some of the words he was throwing around. A real test of the vocabulary.


The Other Stuff


A bit of Bravado

A few little instances of bravado and niggle. The main incident coming in the second quarter between Ashcroft and Holman, which then became Starcevich and Holman, and then Dunkley and Holman, and then McInerney and Holman. Basically, Holman wanted to make sure Ashcroft was aware what competition he was playing in and then the Brisbane Lions experienced players signalled that they were having none of it.


Mac Andrew

It’s hard to get a read on Mac Andrew. I think I put him in a similar boat to a Noah Balta or Esava Ratugolea, or even a young Harris Andrews for a more immediate comparison on the field. He clearly has the talent to play and an existing set of skills. However, his disposal let him down at times and looked incredibly suspect for a run of kicks where, even in space he missed open targets. He also lacked a bit of core strength. Suns fan should take heart from the endeavour and hopefully, Andrew can develop into a consistent player.


Darcy Wilmot

Darcy must’ve woken up on the wrong side of someone’s bed the morning before the game. Nothing seemed to go his way. Whether it was tackling or being tackled, or getting pinged for deliberate Wilmot was on the receiving end of a few harsh calls by the men in green. I suppose it makes up for their love affair with Ashcroft.


Lincoln McCarthy

Great to see that McCarthy has finally had a good run at AFL level. Played his 100th game for the Lions against the Suns after crossing from the Cats in 2018. Player 30-odd games for the Cats in seven seasons due to ongoing injuries. Now he has played 100 out of 102 for Brisbane in five years. An amazing turnaround that marvels Daniel LaRusso’s miracle recovery in the karate kid.


The Wrap


Brisbane Lions

Seven wins in a row for the Lions and counting. They were challenged multiple times by Gold Coast but flexed their muscles and proved to be far too classy for them in the final quarter. Now sitting on top of the ladder, and will finish the round at least second after Collingwood has played. With a short injury list to accompany their ladder position, the Lions are sitting very pretty in a great spot. A trip to Adelaide oval to face the Crows next week looks set to be a good test for the Lions away from the Gabbattoir.


Gold Coast Suns

It’s another loss for the Suns. They just couldn’t go with the Lions when they found their form. They rallied well multiple times to drag themselves back into the contest, before the half time siren and then before the three-quarter-time siren. But they still just can’t get over that hurdle and announce themselves as something more than an honest football team. They now travel to the Northern Territory for their next two weeks, to host the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide, before their mid-season bye. Currently sitting at 4-6, if they can manage to go 1-1 and sit 5-7 after 12 rounds, that might actually be a pretty good reflection of their year.



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