Round 23 – Brisbane v Western Bulldogs: No Tanks Mate


Brisbane vs Western Bulldogs

Saturday 5th September, 1:45pm



The talk for Round 23 of the AFL season has been whether teams resting players is a forming of tanking or not and whether it is ruining the integrity of the game. Brad Scott decided he would rest 9 players from the Kangaroos side in order to not win their game against Richmond. By doing this it meant that they would not have to possibly travel to Adelaide for the first round of the finals. Ross Lyon rested 11 of the Fremantle players to freshen them up for another tilt at the premiership.


At the GABBA for the match between the Lions and the Bulldogs it seemed that no tanking was going to occur. Even though The Bulldogs had rested Murphy, Ellis and Boyd there was still a possibility that they had to win this game to get a home final the following week, if the Crows got up against Geelong. Brisbane on the other hand had the dilemma of knowing that if they won the game there was a huge chance they would not win the wooden spoon and would therefore lose the number one draft pick in the up and coming national draft and possibly recruiting the best young forward which they desperately need.


Even before a ball had been bounced an event occurred that kind of summed up Brisbane season. The retiring Brent Staker who was playing his farewell game, injures his hamstring during the pre-game warm up and was replaced by O’Brien. The first quarter continued to sum up the Lions season as well. They were getting plenty of the ball but turning it over in familiar fashion. Seven of the Bulldogs eight goals came from turnovers with Dayne Zorko (three) and Marco Paparone the main culprits. At the other end when the Lions did enter their forward lines they lacked a reliable target and missing gettable shots at goal. All of this enable the Bulldogs to be up by 31 points at quarter time.


There is a complete turnaround in the second quarter with the Lions getting plenty of clearances, running hard and disposing of the ball much more effectively to see them kick 5 straight goals within the first 10 minutes to hit the lead. It is as if the Bulldogs have put the cue in the rack and are conserving energy. There are 14 Bulldog players that have not touched the ball in the second quarter. Is this because the Crows are 5 goals down at Skilled Stadium and the Bulldogs believe they no longer have to win the game or is it because finally the Lions are showing what they are capable of when playing on at all cost, hitting targets and working hard to find plenty of space, all things that they have struggled to do all year.


Towards the end of the second quarter the Bulldogs start applying more pressure and kick three goals in row. Interestingly this occurs at the same time the Crows are fighting back against Geelong. Surely the Bulldogs intensity and form aren’t corresponding with how the Crows are doing in their match. Surely the integrity of this game will not be tarnished. Bulldogs up by 8points at half time.


The third quarter starts like the second with the Lions coming out of the blocks quickly kicking the first two goals through Adcock and Pearce Hanley to regain the lead again before the Bulldogs bit back with two of their own. Towards the end of the third it looks like the Bulldogs have stop running hard and their pressure drops off, enabling the Lions to kick the last three goals. Is it coincidental that the Bulldogs pressure drops off at the same time Geelong defeat the Crows, ensuring the Bulldogs have a home final next week?


The Bulldogs give it one final push to win the game by kicking the first three goals of the final quarter but Brisbane respond with the mosquito duo of Lewis Taylor and Josh Green responding with goals of their own. The highlight of the final quarter is Adcock’s brilliant three-bounce goal from outside 50m with five minutes remaining to give the Lions the lead, which they never relinquished. Adcock has played probably his best game for the year kicking a goal in each quarter showing that even though he is not going to be in the Lions best 22 next year according to Leppitsch, he could be a handy pick up for another club.


Throughout the game Pearce Hanley and Tom Rockliff had the ball on a string, both inside and outside the contest. Lewis Taylor was like a buzzing fly all game and kicked three crucial goals. Stefan Martin does what Stefan Martin usually does racking up positions, dominating the ruck and getting to contest after contest. Surely after Goldstein he is the best ruckman in the competition and the Lions cannot afford to lose him. For one of the few times this year the Lions have moved the ball quickly – too quick, even, for one of the slickest units in the competition.


One of the biggest difference between the two sides today was efficiency, and that’s why the Bulldogs still nearly managed to win. There was their accuracy in front of goal, for starters, that kept them in the contest up until the end. And there was the Lions’ continued propensity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with schoolboy errors. The loss will not harm the Bulldogs come the finals next week especially if Crameri overcomes an ankle injury he received during the third quarter. For the Lions even though the win will build team morale it has cost them the number one draft pick and possible the second one as well if there is any truth that Carlton could get this if Kruezer leaves. If this does happen and the Lions miss out on either Jacob Weitering or Josh Schache then the win today may have come at a big cost.


But at least the Lions didn’t tank!!!


BRISBANE LIONS   2.5  8.12  14.15  19.16 (130)

WESTERN BULLDOGS   8.0  11.2  13.6  19.8 (122)



Brisbane Lions: J Adcock 4, J Green 4, L Taylor 3, D McStay 2, P Hanley 2, A Christensen, B Evans, D Zorko, J Freeman.

Western Bulldogs: J Stringer 4, J Redpath 3, J Macrae 2, M Bontempelli 2, B Goodes, C Daniel, J Roughead, L Dahlhaus, L Picken, M Honeychurch, S Crameri, T Dickson.



Brisbane Lions: Martin, Hanley, Rich, Rockliff, Adcock, Taylor.

Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Stringer, Dahlhaus, Wood, Wallis, Macrae.


Umpires: Bannister, Schmitt, Mollison


Crowd: 15,434 at the Gabba Ground




About Andrew Weiss

Andrew is one of the few Brisbane Lions supporters that lives in the Adelaide Hills. He still has bragging rights over any Crows or Port supporter by mentioning the back to back to back premierships the Lions achieved in 2001-2003. After playing for over a decade for the mighty Adelaide Lutheran Football Club better known as 'The Doggies' he now spends his Saturdays running around footy ovals as an umpire, getting abuse no matter what decision is made. Coaching is probably next on the agenda as his two sons have started to play the great game of AFL. Andrew is a sports fanatic who when not watching or reading about sport is teaching secondary students about Biology, Nutrition and Psychology.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks for the read Andrew and looking forward to the Adelaide launch.

    I wonder if the Lions already know they have a priority pick.

    Just a theory.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    It was a strange game to watch Andrew. The Dogs were good at the start and then the Lions played like a team with all the shackles off. The Dogs only rested three veteran players in Murphy, Boyd and Morris (not Ellis). We did have an Ellis about twenty years ago who was a friend of Luke Darcy’s.
    After criticizing other teams for ‘resting’ players, I don’t think it was too hypocritical on my part to say the Bulldogs resting those three veterans was just as bad. I read today that Jordon Roughead has a torn finger-tendon and still played on Saturday, so they should have rested him as well.
    If Stephan Martin wants to leave Brisbane he would be welcome at the Dogs after a best-on-ground performance/ audition.
    Weighing up the Lion’s win, I think winning the last game before the long hard pre-season had more value than the first pick in the draft. You’re going to get someone pretty good anyway.

  3. It made sense Brisbane finished ahead of Carlton on the ladder, having beaten them twice in 2015.


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