AFL Round 15 – Brisbane v Gold Coast: Winning with two eyes

Footy wasn’t meant to be watched with an objective eye.

As a kid, you pick a team for whatever reason and from that moment on, you’re stuck.

And when your team plays, it’s hard to keep the emotion at bay, regardless of the result.

I am particularly vocal when it comes to watching Brisbane play, at home, on the TV or watching scores update online.

So, I knew that my first chance to sit in a press box at the Gabba would be a challenge to say the least.

It might have been easier had I pre-empted the result, but against the Gold Coast, keeping my mouth shut could be a difficult task.

With the two Queensland sides sitting 13th and 14th on the ladder, it was billed as the most competitive QClash yet.

Yep, this was going to be a challenge.

Simon Black’s groin made me a little bit nervous, but once the little master’s calf gave way, I felt much more ready to expand my one eye to two.

No jumper, no scarf, nothing to betray my outwardly impartial attitude, this was going well.

There’s no pilgrimage through the ticket barriers, no lining up for a pre-game pie and beverage, no sitting in the rafters discussing the prospective match ups.

I head up to centre wing, and set myself up and it’s getting slowly easier, not least because of the best seat I’ve ever had at the footy.

But then the opening refrain of the Lions song ring out, and I had to fight the urge to do what I’ve done before every Brisbane game since I was 12 and belt out the tune.

I bit my tongue, but I couldn’t fight the partisanship I felt.

Then, two minutes in, my favourite Queensland Irishman, Pearce Hanley pulls off a stunner from the Gabba boundary and it’s all I can do not to leap out of my chair.

It’s rare that a long highlights reel is unfavourable, but I’m happy just to make it through without much cause for cheering.

The game delivers, and both sides are showing the increased fire of the M1 clashes.

And with 27,170 at the Gabba for a Saturday twilight game, it’s not just the players who care about the Queensland derby.

200-gamer Campbell Brown kicks one to the dismay of the crowd, who have taken an instant disdain to the former Hawk – more so than to any former Lion defector.

I’ve always thought rivalry and passion was an organic thing.

When the SUNS first came in, talk of mercenaries and fiery clashes seemed like a bit of spin.

Three years on, I resent Rischitelli and Brennan, but I feel immense satisfaction in beating our coastal cousins.

And as Jonathan Brown gave a weighty welcome to David Swallow, it was pretty clear the actual heat was starting to burn.

Zorko breaks the hold of Joel Wilkinson to kick a special goal, and makes my job a little harder.

Brisbane’s big men are standing all over their little brothers.

Matthew Leuenberger, rucking almost alone, shows just how much he’s worth to the Lions.

Big Sauce up forward was obviously enjoying his time in the glory box, slotting a few, before Brent Staker got a crack at the candy.

With the first two third-quarter goals, the former Eagle doesn’t take long to have his cake and eat it too.

Another goal from the Magician and I can’t help but clap, and quickly rescind that.

Then the man with the silky left foot, Daniel Rich, boots one from outside the arc and it’s everything I can do to hold my joy in.

Brisbane needs this, their fans need this, their credibility needs this.

It’s 14 points at the final change and it’s not quite relaxation time.

Luckily, the Lions find their heads and keep their little brothers where they belong.

My thoughts turn to the best on ground, and it’s easy to hide bias when your side is winning, picking Leuenberger or Hanley for the Marcus Ashcroft Medal.

As the Lions song plays around once more, it’s easier to ignore this time.

It might be hard to be objective, but it’s much easier when you’re winning.

BRISBANE LIONS         3.8    8.9    12.12    17.14   (116) 
GOLD COAST                 2.6   5.10   10.10    12.11   (83)
Brisbane Lions: Brown 3, Zorko 3, Staker 3, Merrett 2, Hanley, Bewick, Mayes, Green, Rich, Raines
Gold Coast: Brennan 3, Brown 2, Bennell 2, Hall, Harbrow, Shaw, May, O’Meara
Brisbane Lions: Leuenberger, Hanley, Brown, Mayes, Staker, Zorko
Gold Coast: Bennell, Brennan, McKenzie, Thompson, Harbrow, Prestia
Brisbane Lions: Moloney (calf)
Gold Coast: Day (groin)
Brisbane Lions: Ryan Lester on for Brent Moloney (calf) during the third quarter.
Gold Coast: Andrew Boston on for Sam Day during the third quarter.
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Findlay, Foot, Jeffery
Crowd: 27,170 at the Gabba


  1. PeterSchumacher says

    Yeah, was a really good game.

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