AFL Round 3 – Gold Coast Suns v Brisbane Lions: Lions claw one back

By Bill Ellis

The Skyline Terrace is perhaps the AFL’s best viewing platform and our leader (David from the Gabba Members’ Office) had certainly done his homework when he put this trip together. I had convinced Mick from footy and Jeff from Dudley St to join me, and we enjoyed being on a train, surrounded by football fanatics – all with high hopes and raincoats poised, heading to the footy. It was almost, but not quite, Victoria.

We could finally stand and watch a game while consuming beer and pies, ride the gibes of the rusted-on Brisbane fans and share the trepidation of the Suns’ faithful. We’d caught the train, taken the bus, and walked the walk: as the rain tumbled down we raised our beers to the Q Clash: at zero and three, the Lions would need to win this one, while the Suns could steal a mighty march on their Queensland brothers with a win tonight.

Raines on Ablett was as predictable as the half time cessation of our bar tab, but none of us had picked Johnathan Brown to open the scoring. Jeff opined that the scoreboard should be as easy to spot as the runners (wearing powder blue tonight to avoid being mistaken for leading Sun’s forwards), instead it was as prominent as the moustache on our security guard: definitely not a mistake, but hardly discernible. At quarter time the Lions led by a goal, but should have been further in front.

The Suns were certainly giving it their all – goal saving tackles by Allen and incredible snaps by Bennell holding them in a game that seemed to be always just out of their reach, especially given Matera was marking like a dried out Sharpie. Without my glasses I was relying on Jeff for identifications, and as the game went on and the Lions struggled to take control his answers became shorter, quieter and less reliable. Mick was an AFL virgin: but his talents in beer collection and food distribution should see him gain a regular seat, so I leant on him to translate the record when the game was tight. Jeff’s pleasure with the Lions’ three-goal half-time lead was balanced with Mick’s disappointment when negotiating the now-closed bar-tab, but the arrival of party pies seemed appropriate, so we considered the ledger square.

My mum would have been happy to see Polkinghorne subbed on in the third, and when Brown kicked truly for number 5 it seemed the game would soon be gone for the Suns, with the lions keeping on the pressure to lead 74 – 59 by 3/4 time. There was a dull feel though as the scoring dried up during this term, punctuated only by a collective groan greeting the announcement that the post game kick to kick was cancelled. Bloody rain.

But the switch was finally flicked at the start of the last: suddenly everyone wanted to give it a shot. The Suns jumped out of the blocks with another snap by Bennell and the lads near us, who were distractedly consuming lagers and tapping their phones for the first three quarters, started buying drinks for, and paying attention to, the already-tipsy group of young ladies in our section. On the field it was more of a table tennis match than an arm wrestle and definitely a game of contrasting styles. For the Suns, Bennell and Wilkinson were playing like naughty schoolboys, shirts hanging out and Winnie Blues in their sleeves, sublimely ducking through traffic and slotting goals to keep the Suns with a sniff.  Meanwhile, Hanley played like a Brisbane truant officer, intercepting errant kicks, delivering pin point passes and keeping a lid on things, with an ever – measured expression on his dial. The game was in the balance.

Things were somewhat more predictable up in Skyline; the clearance specialists were working amongst the giggling lasses while some other blokes were applying more alcohol for effect, as they roved the pack for any scoring opportunities.

With the Suns throwing everything and everyone into the contest, a blunder by the Lions’ Yeo sees the lead cut to three: a snap by Harbrow shades the post and the crowd is on its feet. The ball gets stuck inside the Lions defensive 50 and now (according to Jeff) their season is on the line! Suddenly, the Suns are in front, the crowd is screaming and Jeff refuses to read numbers to me. Mick is commentating on proceedings in Skyline and all I can see is Brisbane’s best Irishman again stepping into the fray. He sends it forward for one last time and a scrambled grubber by Rischitelli rolls across the line for a GOAL! There is stunned silence in the outer but the Lions are home by two – a good bit earlier than many of the Skyline crew by the ways things look.

GOLD COAST                3.5   4.7     8.11      13.14 (92)?

BRISBANE LIONS        4.5   6.13   10.14    13.16 (94)? ?


Gold Coast: Bennell 3, May 2, Matera 2, Broughton, Day, Thompson, Russell, Hall, Rischitelli

Brisbane Lions: Brown 5, Green 2, Martin, Leuenberger, Polkinghorne, Rockliff, Bewick, Hanley


Gold Coast: Brennan, Bennell,  ?Brisbane Lions: Brown, Hanley, Raines

  Umpires: Brendan Hosking, Stuart Wenn and Ben Ryan

Official crowd: 12,961 at Metricon Stadium

Our Votes: 3 Hanley (Brisbane), 2 Bennell (Suns), 1 Brown (Brisbane).

About Bill Ellis

As easy to read as a Clermont green.


  1. Chuck us a party pie next time Billy, I can’t have been far from you. Thanks for taking me there all over again.

  2. Cheers Igor,
    Word is you are back on the paddock. If I can super glue my hammy back together I will hobble down and cheer you on.

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