Round 15 – Brisbane v Collingwood: Everything’s coming up Milhouse, just


Beware of Greeks bearing gifts and never look a Trojan gift horse in the mouth. There was a time in the not so distant past when interstate teams like Brisbane assumed that a double chance, two home finals and then one trip to the MCG for the big dance was about as charmed as footy fixturing could get. But this week, the AFL survival package kicked into overdrive and delivered gilt edged manna from heaven to the Lions of Queensland. A Gabba Grand Final. An opportunity to be grabbed by both nostrils. Maybe it wasn’t just Leigh Matthews who was irked by Brisbane having to play a home preliminary final at the MCG in 2004. Perhaps God herself thought ‘that’s not fair, maybe when I get a spare minute in 2020, I’ll do something about that.’


The Lions haven’t had a convincing win in a while. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember one that had me stargazing and thinking “this team can beat anyone”. Some of our wins even had an asterisk attached to them at the time. Like beating West Coast, who were experiencing the worst bout of homesickness since Dorothy Gale claimed refugee status in the merry old land of Oz. Others, like the GWS win, don’t seem as momentous today as they did then. Despite this though, we have hung around the top of the ladder like a fungal infection. Our recent victories have been more about us not losing the game than they have been about winning.


We don’t quite have a Kennett’s curse against Collingwood, but we haven’t beaten them in a long time either. Since our premierships against them, they’ve generally taken the points and normally in a way that would resign us to another season in the doldrums. It is only they and Richmond who remain on Coach Fagan’s “really must try and defeat one day and hopefully soon” list. Something seemed to click for the Magpies last week, their second half against Carlton reminded the footy world of their best in 2018.


Brisbane have been developing a unique plan of attack in recent weeks. Essentially their game plan has been to develop a tidal wave of scoring opportunities, miss most of them but still outscore their opponent based on the sheer volume of behinds scored. If it takes us to the flag it will revolutionise footy strategy. Clarko’s Cluster, Pagan’s Paddock and Fagan’s Behinds. Just like it’s the tuna that John West rejects that makes John West the best, it’s the goals that Brisbane have missed that will seemingly deliver the Lions the double chance this year.


This week I am not going to fill this match report with a litany of missed goals. They will not be named here. Instead, I am going to use the old political debating strategy of not using the actual name of one’s opponent. The thinking is that it gives less credence to their opposition if they are just referred to as the ‘opposition leader’ or the ‘member for Oxley.’ I’m hoping that by not naming them, it becomes ‘our’ accuracy issue and not ‘theirs.’ I will just say that the first quarter again saw some gettable goals missed by ‘the tall half forward flanker who looks like Rafael Nadal’ and the ‘number one draft pick who has not long returned from a hamstring injury.’ It’s Collingwood’s quarter, but they don’t put us to the sword and only have one goal themselves at quarter time.


Remote Learning 2.0. Quarter time. An opportunity for a quick numeracy lesson for my seven-year-old daughter. She asks her older sister:


‘If Brisbane miss every single goal and Collingwood kick every single goal, how many times will Brisbane need to miss so that they can still win?’


‘That’s just your six times tables,’ her sister replies. ‘But you need algebra too. If ‘x’ represents Collingwood’s goals, Brisbane need 6x + 1 behinds.’


‘But what about when they kick it out on the full?’


I’m not sure if the writers of the Naplan tests monitor the Footy Almanac for question ideas – feel free to fashion something out of this little mathematical quandary if so.



The second quarter is probably our best for the year. The kids have gone to bed, the footrest on the recliner is up, our Mexican take-away has arrived (muchos, muchos, grazie to Arriba Cantina, Traralgon for your chilli con carne) and the Lions start raining (maybe Raynering) goals. Happy to salute not just you Cam, but Jarrod Berry, Eric Hipwood (come back to the goal square Eric, all is forgiven) and Hugh McCluggage. But there are still daunting signs. When you are playing Collingwood and you hear Bruce McAvaney say ‘Daicos has the ball in the forward pocket’ it sends a shiver through footy fans of my vintage.


The third quarter has me wondering if there is something temporal rather than technical about the Lions and their form. Maybe the five goal second quarter is enough to have iced the game. But perhaps we were a little bit prodigal about the whole thing. The ‘tall half forward flanker who looks like Rafael Nadal’ misses an easy shot early in the third and suddenly the universe starts to turn against the Grand Final hosts. Harris Andrews sits on the bench with ice taped to his hamstring and the Brisbane defence suddenly looks like a spilled jar of marbles. They look at each other nervously like the Scottish highlanders in the final scenes of Braveheart, after Mel Gibson was drawn and quartered. To rub further salt into the wound, the camera catches our pre Harris Andrews defensive general, Luke Hodge, sitting in the crowd doing his special comments dressed like a deputy principal in a Roger David beige suit. With Harris on the bench and Hodgey retired, mic in hand, Mason Cox is suddenly prowling around the Collingwood forward line like Bernie Quinlan. I assume Mason will understand this reference. Superboot’s life and career is surely a part of the compulsory curriculum in all American elementary schools.


In the end, we hold on. Much like our recent wins against St. Kilda and North Melbourne, the game finishes with Brisbane holding on dourly against a last quarter surge. The glass remains half full. Do we dwell on the fact that there was only one goal scored in three quarters for the Lions or the five we got in the second? It’s a disquieting feeling knowing that we probably won’t see Harris play again until the finals. But, we are equal top, he should return for the games where the whips will be cracking, there’s a Gabba Grand Final and in a footy sense at least, everything keeps coming up Milhouse for Brisbane (if not quite Bart Simpson just yet).



BRISBANE                   0.2      5.3      6.5      6.6 (42)
COLLINGWOOD          1.1      2.3      3.3      5.4 (34)


Hipwood 2, Berry, Lyons, McCluggage, Rayner
Collingwood: Cox 2, Brown, Elliott, Mihocek


Berry, Lyons, Neale, McInerney, McCluggage, Gardiner,
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Noble, Maynard, Crisp, Adams, Daicos 



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About Shane Reid

Loving life as a husband, dad and teacher. I'm trying to develop enough skill as a writer so that one day Doc Wheildon's Newborough, Bernie Quinlan's Traralgon and Mick Conlon's 86 Eliminatiuon final goal will be considered contemporaneous with Twain's Mississippi, Hemingway's Cuba, Beethoven's 9th and Coltrane's Love Supreme.


  1. As long as you don’t end up Minor Premiers, Shane! They never win the Grannie! Hopefully you’ll iron out the kicking yips, and other minor deficiencies before finals, and let’s cross our fingers! I’ll certainly be supporting my “second” team. Go Lions!

  2. I thought McInerney was outstanding.

    And how in God’s creation could the Suns let Lyons go? I am noticing him more and more and he seems like a very capable and intelligent player.

  3. Absolutely superb,Shane some brilliant one liners ! ( v popular on lions facebook pages )

  4. More metaphors than Bruce McAvaney. You need to throw in a few rhetorical questions, don’t you?

  5. Really enjoy your match summaries. Keep ’em coming!

  6. To put further Simpsons spin on everything Lions related, the phrase “you don’t win friends with Be-hinds” has been entrenched in the vernacular of my Brissy fan double act here in Melbourne.

    I thought Gardiner did some very good and important things post Harris’ benching. Not a solution for the next three games, but he was key to holding the backline together.

    As for Coxzilla and Superboot, I wouldn’t be overly surprised – Mason seems to be a keen student of the game in the “footy nuffie” mould. I’ve seen him at many AFLW games watching with keen interest and he loves to spread the good word whenever possible in interviews overseas.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Great report Shane, Brisbane were just a bit too polished on the night, a few too many Ralph Wiggum moments for the Pies.

  8. Sue McDonald says

    I read this great piece days ago, before just now, reading the latest article , post Suns defeat, Loved both articles and am hoping they keep coming! Excellent writing Shane!
    From a long time Lions(Bears) member.

  9. Thanks all. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to read.

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