Round 5 – Brisbane v Port Adelaide: Where does that leave us now?



Crowds are back at the Gabba and so is the feeling of optimism and excitement. Despite what could be called an easy draw, Port Adelaide had received plenty of deserved plaudits for their scintillating, unbeaten start to the season and are considered a genuine premiership contender. For Brisbane, who have been advantaged by a month home at the Gabba – against an opposition each of who have been experiencing their own tribulations – this was an opportunity to see where we were truly at.


The first quarter left much to be desired. Soundly beaten in the contest, the Lions were well off their best, down in contested ball, clearances, inside 50s and tackles. Port Adelaide were able to slice through the midfield like a knife through butter, creating a smorgasbord of chances for their acclaimed forward line. Depending on the colour of your stripes, it was either good or bad fortune that the Power were unable to capitalise on this early dominance and despite peppering the goals, received little reward for effort.


For the Lions, the alarm bells were sounding even louder when the sight of Cam Ellis-Yolmen putting an ice pack on his lower calf was beamed on the big screen midway through the first term. Despite miraculously entering quarter time in front, the siren couldn’t come soon enough.


The second quarter started with a lot more promise. The Lions were harder around the ball and managed to stifle Port’s movement from the contest. In a nine minute purple patch that will surely put the competition on notice, the Lions kicked five goals to seize control of the match.


On a crisp, dry Brisbane night, the Lions big forwards in Dan McStay and Eric Hipwood were clunking everything that came their way. Regrettably, the kicking yips remain a factor for this Lions team, as we continue to miss far too many gettable chances. Having said that, we are still finding avenues to goal and the spread of ten individual goal kickers shows that this team is not reliant on Charlie Cameron, who had an unusually quiet night.


At the other end of the ground Harris Andrews did well to keep Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon goalless. He was ably supported by Darcy ‘Dizzy’ Gardiner, who remains the competition’s most underrated defender, and Ryan Lester, who is making it very difficult for Marcus Adams to get back into the team when eventually fit.


The contest was effectively dead after the second quarter blitz, but the Power showed that they are a very good team. Their ability to spread from the contest and move the ball from their defensive half was very impressive; this was their main avenue to scoring throughout the night.


The Lions midfield trio of Neale, Lyons and Jarrod Berry were again instrumental and Hugh McCluggage is surely mounting an early case to be the All Australian wingman – surely the selectors need to acknowledge this misunderstood and under appreciated position in this year’s team?


The Lions are still a young team but showed maturity in their ability to mix up their game plan and arrest the Power’s momentum when they threatened to mount a comeback. It was interesting to see the Lions take a more cautious approach to their ball use coming out of defensive fifty by chipping the ball around and slowly breaking through Port’s defensive structures.


So where does that leave us now? The comment was made after the match that we are the form team in the competition and this is probably true. But we have been Lions fans for too long to get too far ahead of ourselves. A new challenge awaits as we enter a New South Wales hub and have a mouth-watering Thursday night blockbuster against Geelong, followed by an equally intriguing clash against the Giants the following week. Perhaps by the time this team returns home, whenever that will be, we will have a better understanding of where we really are.


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. Shane Reid says

    Sam, thanks for this great report. I share your sentiments of the last paragraph – I think we Lions have been burned too many times to get ahead of ourselves. I think it was the best game I’ve seen Rayner play. If we can win one of the next two there may be cause for real optimism. Go Lions!

  2. Sam Evans says

    Thanks Shane. Agree that Rayner played a great game. I’m excited to see him push up into the middle more as he matures. Have been very impressed with his defensive efforts as well. A big few weeks to come!

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