Round 4 – Brisbane v Gold Coast: For Stefan

For Stefan 

Brisbane vs. Gold Coast


The Gabba, 4.35PM


Ever since the expansion teams entered the competition, Gillon McLachlan and the rest of the AFL have been praying for the local derbies to become a marquee event. Unfortunately for them, it’s pretty much been looked at by the rest of the league as a bit of a joke, especially when compared to the West Coast/Fremantle or Adelaide/Port Adelaide rivalries. To his credit, Steven May tried to spice up the rivalry last year by poleaxing Tom Rockliff’s ribs. Obviously, I’d much prefer it if our rivalry didn’t form on the basis of Brisbane’s best players getting physically abused, but I’m sure Steven’s learnt his lesson, especially given his interview on, where he stated “I’ve been reported in the past, so I’ve learnt to control my aggression, and I hope to stay out of the umpire’s book this weekend, that’s for sure.”


Spoiler alert: He doesn’t.


Right from the first bounce, you can tell that there’s feeling in this game. Brisbane, the big brother, once held a 5-1 lead in the abysmally-named ‘QClash”, but in recent years, the chirpy little brother Gold Coast has had the upper hand. Starting the year 3-0, Gold Coast were the sure-fire favourites against my 0-3 Lions, but the healthy-sized crowd was in full voice for the home team, and, to quote Hans Moleman from ‘The Simpsons’, they had “come for blood”. And blood they quite literally got, as Lions Ryan Lester and Dayne Zorko left the ground due to the blood rule, spilling more Claret than your eccentric Aunt who’s had one too many drinks at Christmas lunch. Spot-fires were being set off all over the ground, from Tom Lynch getting in the face of Daniel Merrett after his third first quarter goal to Zorko letting May know after Tom Bell slotted the Lions’ first. Evidently, there’s no love lost between the Lions and May, whose hit last year on Rockliff was brutal, but relatively fair. For the entire first half, the match was on a knife’s edge. The Lions had dominated all facets of the game, but their inaccuracy in front of goal, a recurring and worrying trend this season, was keeping Gold Coast in the contest. Approaching half-time, tension was high, and you could sense that one spark could set this powder-keg off.


That spark was Steven May.


With 43 seconds remaining before half time, Gary Ablett and Stefan Martin chased down a loose ball through the centre square. What met Martin there was the equivalent of the tram that took out Graham Polak in 2008, as May ran past the ball, jumped and collected Martin in the head, knocked out before he hit the ground. Given May’s history, it’s easy to assume that he never entered that contest with any intention of getting the ball. Instead, he set out with the intention of hurting Martin as much as possible. And that he did. As the siren sounded, and the boos and anger from the crowd reached fever-pitch, May had the look of a man who would rather have been anywhere else. As a Twitter user noted, May would probably have preferred to have been sent off immediately than play another half looking over his shoulder, with known physical presences such as Merrett and Mitch Robinson bound to be fast approaching any minute.


When I said before that the crowd wanted blood, I truly meant it. If it had been a game of country football and May had no protection leaving the ground, in that moment he would have genuinely feared for his life, such was the sheer anger emitting from the crowd. Watching from home, you could almost predict where this game would now go. The Lions, with no recognizable ruckman and a history of discipline problems, would allow anger to get the best of them, spurred on by the rage in the crowd, letting Gold Coast off the hook and lose the match.


Instead, what happened was simply incredible, and I can honestly say I’ve never been prouder to support the Brisbane Lions. They came out for the second half with a focus that made it evident that they were doing this for Stefan. Led by Pearce Hanley, who kicked a goal within 30 seconds, the Lions played with an intensity unseen since our last finals appearance in 2009, and when a Tom Cutler goal put the Lions ahead with eight minutes to go, the sound was unlike anything the Gabba has produced in years. Ryan Bastinac sealed the match with a 50 metre bomb, as the Lions showed the rest of the competition not only how good we can be, but what we stand for as a club.


After the match, Pearce Hanley was awarded with his well-deserved second Marcus Ashcroft medal, and in the centre of the ground, Martin shook hands with May, who looked genuinely remorseful. Whether that’s out of shame for his despicable actions or regret that he won’t be back on the field next week, we cannot be certain. What we are sure of though, is that the rivalry in Queensland is absolutely real, and Brisbane is on top, where we belong.


Brisbane 3.6 4.15 10.20 14.23 (107)
Gold Coast 4.2 7.5 12.7 14.10 (94)



Brisbane: Bell, Hanley, Cutler 2, Green, Christensen, Schache, Zorko, Bastinac, Bewick, Martin, Taylor

Gold Coast: Lynch 5, Sexton 2, Hall, Malceski, Cameron, Day, Martin, Rischitelli, Rosa



Brisbane: Hanley, Walker, Zorko, Bastinac, Cutler, Robinson, Rich, Bewick, Bell

Gold Coast: Lynch, Nicholls, Saad, Hall, Malceski, Kolodjashnij


Umpires: Donlon, Chamberlain, Wallace. Crowd: 20, 041


Our Votes: Hanley (BL) 3, Walker (BL) 2, Lynch (GC) 1




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