Round 16 – Brisbane v Gold Coast: The First September Q-Clash (shame about the pandemic asterix)

 

It has taken a global pandemic to ensure that the two Queensland clubs finally get the opportunity to square off in September. There are some unusual silver linings this year. Dogs are being walked more often, tracksuit pant sales must be through the roof, those amongst the world who have shares in Zoom, Webex or Microsoft Teams and footy in Queensland are happy. There was great footage this week of the second wave cavalry from Victoria doing some quarantine training. ‘Roughy’, ‘Hanners’, Shane Edwards, ‘Mackie’ and Gary Junior all kicking a ball around to each other like Grade Three kids who had just heard the little-lunch bell and has spilled into the playground. The pure joi de vivre of it was awesome. The tribal stripes of the Cats, Tiges and Saints forgotten as the lads stripped footy back to its most base level.

 

There are a lot of tributaries and stories that flow into this Lions team that I hold so dear. I love that their jumper looks pretty similar to the one that Laurie Serafini and Ross Thornton wore when I was just a kid. The colours and emblem that would crash through packs and soar through the air. It is fantastic that our song is still essentially the one that Bill Stephen and his mates put together, co-opting le Marseille from the movie Casablanca. Alex Witherden’s number twenty-nine still makes me do a double-take every time he gets the ball, for a subliminal second my heart channels Garry Wilson again before my brain catches up. I hope ‘Witho’ becomes a regular. But I’m loving the new layers to our story as well. Technically, I’ve visited Rome more often than I’ve been to Brisbane but they are still absolutely my team. And the Q-clash is starting to matter to me, even from as far away as Traralgon.

 

The Gold Coast Suns are turning into a proper footy club. Their next wave of precocious talents seem to have unpacked their suitcases and are giving off that same entrenched long-term vibe that Morgan Freeman had in Shawshank or Amanda Vanstone had in the Liberal Party. There’s nothing novelty or gimmicky about tonight’s game, the Lions need a win and preferably an easy one. Over the last two years, Brisbane have turned brave, close losses into bullet dodging close wins which is definitely a positive. But the commentariat, even my own biased match reports included, have tended to talk them down. There is a lot riding on this game.

 

The Lions open the game with some daring corridor play that ends up with Zorko kicking the quintessential captain’s goal. Scoreboard shows Brisbane Lions 1.0.6 to GC Suns 0.0.0. I highlight that because against North Melbourne a few weeks it took both teams six separate scoring opportunities to ensure a scoreboard with six points on it. Jack Payne is in for Harris Andrews this week. The club has trotted out the time honoured ‘next soldier’ cliché and it looks like big Jack is a buying it. He clunks four intercept defensive marks for the quarter. In one great marking contest he pushed the much lauded (and rightly so) Max King off the flight of the ball in a marking contest. Charlie Cameron finds an early goal by creating some space goal-side. Dan McStay ices a set shot,  et tu Cam Rayner and we are suddenly looking at the sort of landslide that could have been possible in every single game this year if we had made the most of our early scoring opportunities. Hipwood is in everything, reminding us why there was a time when he was likened to Buddy Franklin; Lachie Neale seems intent on banking some Brownlow insurance votes; and the Jarrods, Lyons and Berry, continue to give the All Australian selectors something to ponder. This is the opening quarter we’ve needed for a long time now. There is something about the Suns that brings out a bit of ‘first born entitlement’ in Brisbane. Five goals to one in the first quarter.

 

I don’t know the mechanics of footy enough to know if this is a new rule, but I really enjoy what happens whenever a fifty metre penalty is awarded. I think a second one must be granted if the recipient can run ahead of his opponent. So there is quite often this great, Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton style visual of first the player arguing the toss with the umpire and then realising his opponent has taken off becomes a funny little sprint to catch up, often while still yelling. Hugh McCluggage is a classy guy so it is not really his want to remonstrate too much. But even so, his fifty metre penalty against Jack Lukosius is a Benny Hill soundtrack away from being high farce.

 

The camera catches ‘Fages’ on the boundary with a couple of defining images. When a very tenuous deliberate out of bounds is called against Linc McCarthy in the first quarter, he gives everyone the opportunity to pass an entry level, lip-reading exam. Something that almost rhymes with ‘Brad Pitt.’ In the second quarter, there is a really scary moment when Starcevich hits the ground head first. As he lay face down and motionless, ‘Fages’ face is all parental concern and worry. It is this sort of heart and emotion from the boss that has made us a destination club.

 

The second quarter is a stalemate. Lachie is racking up a respectable cricket score with his possessions and the Suns start pushing and shoving him around. He’s not a shrinking violet and, when he starts pushing back, I start to panic. He needs to take a leaf from Michael Corleone’s book and not be seen getting his hands dirty over the next two weeks. Mitch Robinson doesn’t have a Brownlow at stake, let him ride shotgun as your henchman.

 

I’m a Lions man first but also a proud Gippslander. With the game won, it is nice to see Morwell’s Ben Ainsworth kick a big goal and Fish Creek’s Sam Flanders almost do the same. I do understand the utilitarian equity of the draft but it does make me think about what has been lost with the zones. The Lions have been smart by drafting not just the blue chip investment of Hugh McCluggage but his mate Jarrod as well, Tom Berry this year and Jed Adcock from the past. It gives the Lions a bit of a Ballarat/Western Region feel. If the Suns become a bit of a finishing school for the Gippsland Power boys, particularly the speculative ones, it will make people like me watch on with interest.

 

It was the win we needed. There are some injury concerns as another game looms on Sunday. Jarrod Berry, Starcevich and Linc McCarthy will squeeze into the injury room with Harris Andrews. But it was a rare four quarter effort and, hopefully, a confidence building win going forward. Despite the margin, these Suns are likely to have some non-pandemic Septembers to look forward to as well, maybe even the first Q-clash final in the not too distant future.

 

BRISBANE         5.4     8.6     11.10     13.10     (88)
GOLD COAST     1.0     4.3     5.5     6.7     (43)

 

GOALS
Brisbane: Rayner 3, Cameron 2, Zorko 2, Berry, Hipwood, McCarthy, McCluggage, McStay, Robinson
Gold Coast: Corbett 2, King 2, Weller, Ainsworth

 

BEST
Brisbane: Neale, Rayner, Zorko, Hipwood, Cameron, McCluggage, Rich
Gold Coast: Ellis, Anderson, Greenwood, Ainsworth 

 

You can find more of Shane Reid’s pieces HERE.

 

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About Shane Reid

I’m a dad to two great girls, both of whom love the Lions like their dad. I’m also a secondary school teacher. It has been a lot of fun having a go at writing, I also really enjoy reading the great pieces on The Footy Almanac.

Comments

  1. Am certainly liking Eric’s game at the moment! Hopefully it continues. Keep enjoying, Shane!

  2. Shane, a lot to like about Brisbane. They just need to nail their chances when it counts. And hope the injuries stop mounting. I’m looking forward to the Blues taking you on in the final round. Should be a good benchmark of where we are at.

    Cheers

  3. Great stuff Shane keep em coming mate

  4. Sue McDonald says

    Well written Shane.!! I was there, as always ,at the Gabba and am hoping we can get all injured players back for the finals.Harris and Jarrod will be needed. Keep up the great writing!

  5. Thanks Jan, John, Rulebook and Sue. I appreciate the kin d words. Fingers crossed there are a few more wins to write about this year.

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