Round 5 – Brisbane v Port Adelaide: Top of the Table – a Story of Two Defences


The first half was a tale of two quarters: the first when Port dominated general play but could not score, and the second when the Lions won the game. The difference was quite simple – defence. Brisbane’s stood up and Port’s crumbled.


Port kicked six goals for the entire game despite having supposedly the best big forward in the league. It became tedious listening to the commentators  pontificating on ‘Big Charlie’, who was no match for the best full back in he league in Harris Andrews. Andrews has the most underrated defender in the league standing in front of him in Darcy Gardiner. He also has the best small defender out on the flank in the form of Daniel Rich.


Port kicked five behinds in the first quarter, one rushed and the others all shots under pressure. In the second quarter the Port defence was powerless to stop the avalanche of Brisbane goals. The shift by the Lions to man up around the contest rather than have one back was cited by Lachie Neale as the reason for the change in the contest around the ball, while the Port defence was simply too short to provide any meaningful contest. The three Port tall defenders were many inches shorter than their direct opponents.


One contest in the second quarter summed up the game. McCarthy flattened his opponent out on the far wing. He didn’t merely bump him – he smashed him. The Lions have a set of hard and tough on ballers now. The Berry boys go hard. Hugh McCluggage is now a tackling beast. Cam Rayner, Jarryd Lyons, I could go on, all have become hard nuts.


Daniel McStay had a personal purple patch in the first quarter – he had the ball on a string. This was important as it was against the run of play and while he was much quieter for the rest of the match, it was the best game he has ever played. Both he and Hipwood missed relatively easy shots at goal, so that’s still a problem for the Lions.


Port have a problem in their defence and Westhoff could find himself down back later in the season. They have been impressive so far this season, but their supporters will remember their topsy turvy efforts last year where they would win one and then lose one, untroubled by their opposition’s spot on the ladder. They scored a goal from a kick in going up the middle early on in the match so they persisted with the tactic all day, going to Dixon every time. They didn’t have any other tall timber to aim for, but I thought mixing it up would have been a worthwhile strategy.


This was a convincing display by the flag favourites, but they now have two games in NSW against Geelong and the Giants that will tell us more about them.


Derrinalphil votes

3 Votes – Harris Andrews

2 Votes – Daniel Rich

1 Vote – Darcy Gardiner


BRISBANE                 2.1    8.6     11.11    12.13 (85)
PORT ADELAIDE      1.6    2.7      4.10       6.12 (48)


Brisbane: Rayner 2, McCarthy 2, McStay, Hipwood, Cameron, McInerney, Bailey, McCluggage, Robinson, Neale
Port Adelaide: Butters 2, Gray, Rozee, Marshall, Rockliff


Brisbane: Neale, Lyons, McCluggage, McStay, Andrews, J.Berry, Rayner
Port Adelaide: Boak, Butters, Houston, Ebert, Rockliff



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  1. Adam Muyt says

    Flag favourites! Geez, where’d that come from, Phil!? Prefer ‘under the radar’ and ‘one win at a time’ – much better than ‘April champs’…or, in this weird season, ‘July champs’.
    That aside, the Boys are playing tougher. Great sign. But our kicking for goal… mmmmm…

  2. Phil Hill says

    We are the favorites in the betting markets. Imagine thinking that pre-fagan

  3. Laurie Laffan says

    GOOOOOOO LIONS !!!!!!!!!

  4. I had to laugh at Charlie Dixon being spanked by Harris Andrews.

    Anyone following footy media last week would be forgiven for thinking that Dixon was the greatest full-forward since John Coleman!

  5. Sam Evans says

    Thanks for the report Phil. Good to see another admirer of Darcy Gardiner out there as well. The Lions defense has developed well but is only as successful as the midfield’s pressure – perhaps that’s just the modern game.

    I thought Port’s tactic of going long down the middle from kick ins was interesting, the Lions would just spoil and get a rebound 50 almost every time.

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