AFL Round 17 – Brisbane v West Coast: In with the Gabba’s new brigade

Brisbane v West Coast

7.40pm Saturday July 12

Gabba, Brisbane

 

Beth Newman

 

It might be round 17, but it feels like the dawn of a new era, as a Brisbane Lions fan.

As the West Coast Eagles flew into the Gabba, it was the first home game with a real view at a next generation.

A fortnight ago, we had farewelled Jonathan Brown and for the first time since 2009, there would be no Redden, Rich or Rockliff in the maroon, blue and yellow.

No Matthew Leuenberger, in seniors or reserves, with the ruck load falling again on the tender shoulders of a reinvigorated Stefan Martin.

Michael Close, the North Ballarat Rebel finally maintaining a senior spot, would this be his chance to prove his credentials as the Lions’ key forward of the future? No pressure.

The number six on my well-loved, and only, Brisbane Lions guernsey, is showing its cracks and bearing the signs of a decade of redevelopment.

I had spent the afternoon and indeed part of the week leading up, watching the next generation in the National U16 championships, and back up the M1, my focus turned to the Lions’ new faces.

The Eagles had also brought a bag of youth, and as these two developing sides battled it out, there wasn’t much to separate them.

It took almost six minutes for Jeremy McGovern, the next generation of a footballing family, to break the ice for the Eagles and what felt like an eternity before Joel Patfull returned the favour for the Lions.

That new earmark of the Lions defence, a no-tagging rule, let Luke Shuey off the leash in the first quarter, on his way to a best on performance.

The poster boy for all things alternative in Queensland talent, Dayne Zorko, was leading all comers early, typifying his hard working attitude, an example to be applauded.

After a dour first quarter, one not quite for the purists and certainly not the stuff of highlights compilations, the focus of my brother, one of my most constant footy companions, turned firmly to the hope of the Lions winning a quarter so he could claim his free quarter pounder at the golden arches on Sunday.

One of the few elder statesmen, Ash McGrath, finished off some Lions’ work, while captain, Jed Adcock, showed his leadership material.

On a night where across the river, Super Rugby’s NSW Waratahs had almost outscored the Lions in a half of football, this wasn’t a scoring frenzy.

The X-factor of Nic Naitanui was quelled by our green ruckman, Martin, another chapter in his purple patch.

An oft-underrated Ryan Harwood caught the eye, bringing the Lions back into the game, and another McGrath major put us in quarter pounder territory at the major break.

One third of Brisbane’s Mozzie Squad, Josh Green, brought things all square in the third, and though the advantage was short-lived, it injected a spark into the Lions’ chances.

Frustration crept in as the errors crept up, with even our silky Irishman pinged trying to do it all himself.

Frustration is an emotion that seeps in to my football watching aplenty, and just as the Lions chipped away at the deficit, they seemed to hand the advantage right back.

As the margin whittled down, it almost looked like the Lions could steal another sneaky victory, but it just felt a fraction too far.

It was a far cry from the emotional boilover of a fortnight ago, but for the 13,610 who kept the faith, there were a few gems who stood up out of the rough.

 

BRISBANE LIONS     1.1    4.3   6.6   9.10    (64)
WEST COAST           3.2    5.3    9.5   11.10  (76)

 GOALS

Brisbane Lions: McGrath 2, Green 2, Merrett, Taylor, Patfull, Mayes, Harwood

West Coast: McGovern 2, Smith 2, LeCras 2, Shuey 2, McGinnity, Hutchings, Darling

 

BEST 

Brisbane Lions: Zorko, Harwood, Martin, Adcock, Hanley,

West Coast: Shuey, Priddis, Lycett, McGovern

Our votes: Shuey (3), Priddis (2), Zorko (1).

Comments

  1. Sean Gorman says

    Thanks Beth. I felt – having watched the game on tv – that the toasters were a bit lucky with this one. I also felt that if the Lions could have focussed a bite harder and had more of an option going into attack they could have got the choccs. Rockcliff was
    sorely missed. Question how did Nicc Nooi play when the ball was not near him?

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