Lions roar, Tigers dream and a young Roo makes his mark

By Sasha Lennon

How good is Jonathan Brown?

Of course, that’s a rhetorical question.  We all know he’s very, very good.

Brown, for his presence on the field alone, if not for his ability to read the play and present himself as a target just like Wayne Carey or Dermott Brereton did before him is one of the best.

My decision to tip the Lions over North on Saturday was based on two things.

Firstly, the Lions were as desperate as they have ever been for a win.  A loss against the Kangaroos would have resulted in the worst start to a season ever in the history of the Brisbane Lions, Bears and Fitzroy combined.

Secondly, Brown, upon confirmation during the week that he would be playing on the weekend, announced that he’d be doing his best to lead the Lions to victory, to help out his mates, especially his mate in the coach’s box.

I’d like to have Jonathan Brown as one of my mates.

His first match in eight weeks after suffering a sickening facial injury in round one, Brown didn’t hold back, characteristically throwing caution to the wind, repeatedly throwing himself into harm’s way in order to lift his side.

Seconds into the match the Lions captain had his hands on the ball setting the tone in a match where he remained a vital presence throughout.

But it wasn’t until the third term that Brown hurt the Roos on the scoreboard, booting three goals for the term.  His fourth in the final term gave his side the spark they needed to eventually get over the line.

Mention must be made of first-gamer Luke Delaney who won his fair share of one-on-one contests against the great man.  Not only did Delaney make Brown work hard all night, he gave North fans something to smile about with his poise, consistency and effectiveness under pressure at half-back.

Meanwhile at the ‘G’, the Tigers continued their dream run, victorious against the Bombers in front of more than 83,000 spectators.

Listening in to the match for updates, the noise of the crowd and the static in my wireless told me things were electric in Melbourne.

Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt, like Brown at the Gabba, provided a big target for the Tigers and finished with four goals.

Despite his tendency to occasionally lose the plot (aka Richo), Jack’s career is still only getting started and if he and the likes of Cotchin and the under-rated Nahas continue on their current trajectories, the Tigers could be vying for a top-four spot sooner than the rest of us would care to consider.

If you were watching, listening or witnessing in person either match on Saturday night, make a note of it.  There will be other matches to come when Brown gives a more dominating performance, when young Luke Delaney really makes his mark and when the Tigers turn a corner on their way to real success.

But historical events or achievements, as we know them, in football or in life generally don’t just happen.  They are the result of a long, cumulative series of episodes.  Saturday was one of those episodes in a story (or two), that we’d fare well to remember.

It was the night that a young Roo made his mark against a great man who lead his side to victory in the face of unprecedented adversity.  And it was the night the Richmond Tigers gave their fans genuine hope that they won’t always be just dreaming at the ‘G’.

Sasha Lennon is a Brisbane-based Knacker whose writing can be found at http://sashasoapbox.blogspot.com/

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