Brisbane v West Coast – there was something in the air

As a Brisbane Lions supporter, I have felt the full range of footy fan emotions.
It was only four or five years ago, that on my visits to the Gabbatoir I expected to leave with four points.
Now, I approach games with the cautious optimism, or more accurately a glimmer of hope, that plagues fans of bottom four teams.
Taking on West Coast at the Gabba used to be an automatic loss for the Lions, even in their premiership years.
This weekend, though, I woke up with a strange feeling.
There was something in the air – Melbourne had taken out Essendon and Port Adelaide had shown Carlton a thing or two.
It was an underdog weekend and in their Sunday afternoon clash against ladder leaders West Coast, the Lions definitely fit the bill.
Getting to the ground, more good signs give me confidence – the rain has ceased and the perpetually sold-out chicken pies are available for the first time this season.
I take my seat and watch as the ground, well the members’ section, slowly fills.
The first bounce comes too slowly, but once it does, the Eagles quickly sweep it forward.
An easy mark to Dean Cox and a quick conversion makes me doubt my earlier enthusiasm.
Then Dayne Zorko takes a grab to give the Lions a chance.
He only gets a minor score but the Lions are being relentless in defence and threaten again soon after.
Big flame-haired Daniel Merrett plucks it, kicks the goal and gives the fans an early sniff.
As the first term goes on, it is obvious the Brisbane lads really want this win.
Playing like a team with something to prove, with their tight defence leading the way.
By the end of the first term, most fans are happy to see a strong quarter, offering a standing ovation for as the teams gather for their huddles.
When Rohan Bewick snapped a goal to open the second quarter, optimism turns  to legitimate belief.
A Jack Darling goal ignited the Eagles but Polkinghorne soon replied with a great grab and goal.
As Brisbane continue to answer West Coast’s scores, I can feel the crowd’s faith growing.
With an 11-point lead at the major break, there is another standing ovation from the spectators, many of whom haven’t seen such a good half from the pride in a long time.
Into the second half, I don’t want to get ahead of myself as the Eagles kick themselves in front.
A blinder from Matthew Priddis shows Brisbane what West Coast are capable of and strikes fear into the hearts of the loyal Lions followers.
Brisbane don’t let them get away though, and their desperation in defence spurs them on.
BY this point, I notice that finally the “Brisbane” chants are drowning out the “Eagles” and I know that those in the grandstand want this as much as the men on the ground.
A deficit of 14 points at the last break is not enough to break the spirit of the Brisbane crowd, with three-quarter time conversations more positive than ever.
The final term gets underway and a lesser-known red nut, sub Josh Green makes an instant impact.
Shannon Hurn gets one for the Eagles and their sub, Ashton Hams and the task becomes a larger one for Brisbane.
But they have had one hand on victory all day and won’t be going away that easily.
Goals to Josh Drummond, then Brown and a thumper to Daniel Rich give us opportunities to roar far louder than a 15,000-strong crowd normally would.
As the minutes tick over, every goal looks to be a game winner.
Darling goes for an Eagles winner, but McKeever throws himself over the ball to touch it on the line, epitomising Brisbane’s attitude all day.
Then Polkinghorne launches a 60m torp to give the Lions a 2-point margin well beyond the 30-minute mark.
Three rows down, a man has his arms up and screaming with glee. He turns around to those behind, giving us all a chance to share in the kind of thrill that has been far too rare in 2012.
Stoppage after stoppage, the quarter drags on and people in nearby seats are pleading the timekeeping gods for the siren to sound.
West Coast gets a clearance and the ball heads to their forward line and the prayers get louder.
Ash McGrath, playing well after an early injury, and Daniel Rich are late saviours in the back half and keep the Eagles at bay.
And then, with 37:55 on the clock, it comes.
The siren, the win, the satisfaction of knowing my side played better than the best in the league.
Hands shaking, tears in my eyes, I belt out the song and savour a landmark victory, knowing that the next time I watch Brisbane my optimism may not go unrewarded.

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    Well done Beth. Your boys deserved to beat us at the Gabba late last season, and you certainly deserved today’s. We had you beaten 3 times in the second half, but you refused to lie down. Your clearance work was outstanding, and you worked much harder than us in the middle. Enjoy.

  2. smokie88 says:

    That final term was the best quarter of footy I have seen this year.

  3. Phantom says:

    My telly was on the blink. It said that the juggernaut West Coast was beaten by a lowly team. That could not be possible.

  4. John Harms says:

    If the game had as much energy as this piece Beth it must have been a cracker. Loved your yarn. I am looking forward to watching the last quarter some time this week.

  5. Nice one Beth. I listened to the ABC radio, and the background crowd noise was terrific. I tried to adopt the Allan Border dressing room mantra – ‘dont change a thing while the going is good’ (not that it did the Aus XI much good in that loss to the Windies at the Adelaide Oval all those years ago) and it mostly worked. I eventually nipped into the living room to see Polk’s torp on the tele, that was gold!
    I thought the Lions form during most the 2nd half against the Kangas last week was the best of the season (that I had seen / heard). Great to see it continue yesterday. I hope we see some more after the rest.

  6. Andrew Weiss says:

    Nice little piece Beth. I will admit it was great to hear the crowd cheering as loud as they were even if it was through a TV set with me siiting in the lounge room on a wintery day in the Adelaide Hills. I can’t remember the last time I heard the Brisbane chant at the GABBA for quite a while. Even the commentary team on Foxtel was getting caught up in the excitement. I think i heard Anthony Hudson say “blow the bloody siren” as Mitch Golby was kicking to Jed Adcock in the final seconds (will have to confirm this when i watch the game again on tape/ hard drive). Lets hope as Brisane supporters this is the start of a new beginning

  7. Adam Muyt says:

    I heard the roar in Vancouver! Fantastic result

Leave a Comment

*