AFL Round 20 – Brisbane v Richmond: Too little, too late

If footy is truly a game of four quarters (and I am led to believe it is), then somebody obviously forgot to tell the Brisbane Lions.

Despite their sluggish starts, I still switch on at the start of each week, and this week against Richmond is no different.

It’s the first Lions game at the ‘G in over a year, Tom Harley tells me, and they’ve lost most of their last few.

It doesn’t take long for Richmond’s Daniel Jackson to kick his first, and the Lions just look a little out of their depth.

Four minutes in, when Jack Riewoldt handballs to Luke McGuane in the goal square, an ominous feeling creeps in – you know the Tiges are on song when even Jack is playing the team game.

There’s no Black, no Brown and no McGrath – it’s the first game without a single premiership player since 2001.

But Brisbane’s undecorated soldiers are fighting hard – Daniel Merrett in his 150th match is giving Troy Chaplin a run around and Leuenberger is in beast mode.

It’s seven entries to six, midway through the first, but the Lions can’t seem to take a mark, and when they do, they miss.

It could be worse, but it could be better.

Leuenberger goes to Rich, who, in Lefty Round, shows exactly what cacky footers are capable of, with a booming goal from the 50.

The margin is out to 17, but it feels a lot closer.

South Australian Justin Clarke is cleaning up down back, and is fast becoming a cult hero among some Lions fans, namely myself, for his tireless efforts at such a young age.

It’s 28 points at the first break, which seems like the right amount for the Lions to mount a late comeback ala Geelong and North Melbourne, in recent weeks.

Brandon Ellis snaps one from the pack and it’s looking pretty grim at the sacred home of footy.

Then, Sam Mayes’ new haircut comes on screen, sending things very quickly downhill.

As the Tigers approach the half-century, the Lions are still stuck in single figures and playing with little lustre.

Pearce Hanley gets one for the Lions, and the conversation is dominated by the distance between the ones on his jumper, obviously a hot button issue.

Saturday afternoon footy has always proved a prime time for a nap and I am fighting off every urge to take advantage of that as the match starts to resemble an MCG massacre.

Elliot Yeo breaks into space off half-back, puts it up for speedy Josh Green, who finishes it off, adding a rare Lions highlight to the first half.

Bachar Houli has been super on the wing for the Tigers, and bursts down the outer once again, with nary a Lion in sight, to set up Conca’s third.

Less than a minute into the third, Clarke winces his way off the ground, with a sore shoulder, and turns out Moloney is down as well, subbed with a hamstring injury.

Ivan Maric goes for a run, his glorious mullet flowing in the breeze, evidently stunning those around him because he is barely challenged.

Brisbane bring themselves back into the game, with some fierce tackling.

They kick a couple in a row and the Lions are right back in this, having also keeping the Tigers goalless.

The sides exchange majors early in the final term, but neither is really getting on top.

Brisbane continues to fight, with a five-goal buffer, but there is not the rolling momentum that built in the back half of the Lions’ comebacks in the season.

Staker ‘keeps it interesting’, according to the TV voices, bringing it back to 28 points.

Former Melbournite, Stefan Martin, readies himself for a shot to cap off a solid return from injury, but a reckless free kick deprives him of the chance.

Mayes slots another and 22 points with 8 minutes left seems like a very interesting proposition.

Hanley uses a bit of Irish magic to bring it back to 16, and now it’s three goals, five minutes.

Jack Riewoldt picks the perfect time to kick a goal, from the boundary, and that’s game over.

It turns out Jack has had the final say, and as Yellow and Black sounds around the ‘G, it’s 23 points to the Tigers.

The second half proved Brisbane’s best footy is pretty good, but like so many games this season, I’m left wondering if they could be in Richmond’s shoes, celebrating a finals berth, if Brisbane could play from first to last.

RICHMOND                      6.2   11.7   11.9   14.13 (97)
BRISBANE LIONS           1.3    4.4     7.7    11.8 (74)

GOALS
Richmond: 
McGuane 3, Conca 3, Vlastuin, Morris, Jackson, Grigg, Foley, Ellis, Riewoldt, White
Brisbane Lions: Mayes 3, Staker 2, Green 2, Hanley 2, Rich, Merrett

BEST
Richmond:
  McGuane, Conca, Houli, Ellis, Maric
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Mayes, Rich, Green, Hanley

Our votes: McGuane (3),  Conca (2), Rockliff (1)

Umpires: Donlon, Farmer, Harris

Official crowd: 46,961 at the MCG

 

Comments

  1. Adam Muyt says:

    Thanks Beth, good sumnation of the Lions efforts on Saturday. And your title could be seen to sum up Voss’ coaching efforts.

  2. Hope there’s room on that Justin Clarke bandwagon for me Beth? A 10 year centre half back me thinks (or hopes at least).

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