Round 6 – Brisbane v Port Adelaide: Lions All Went on a May Day Holiday

It’s Labor Day weekend in Queensland, a long weekend that gets celebrated at different times of the year depending on which state of the East Coast that you reside in (Victoria have had theirs, New South Wales commemorate the end of footy season by having theirs after the NRL Grand Final). Perhaps the Brisbane Lions in mind and spirit also went on a vacation for this long weekend, after a performance against Port Adelaide that was as much of a failure as a North Korean missile test.

Being so long since I had gone to the Gabba for footy (August 2015, sat bemused at the Bulldogs not performing to expectations as the Lions pinched a rare win in the Leppitsch era) I wasn’t expecting too much joy and excitement. A six piece marching band (2 drummers, 1 on cymbals and 3 on various brass instruments) wasn’t exactly getting the small gathering up and about, partially because I’m sure some would not have known what they were playing save for the Lions theme song, others wouldn’t have heard it at all thanks to the PA playing what is classed as music in 2017. At least the Lions mascot seemed happy enough, although he’d probably be like the Mud Dogs mascot in “The Waterboy” where he joined the cheerleaders in destroying a bottle of Jim Beam.

Sadly that was about as entertaining as it got for the locals. At the elite level you would expect players to be able to make consistently sound decisions as to where and how to dispose of the Sherrin, and also to execute the skills of the game to a high level. Just about every Lions player failed on both accounts. There wouldn’t have been as many turnovers if somebody filmed 50 bedrooms full of children having nightmares (although at least the only people that would be subjected to that would be sickos trying to defend the action in the halls of law enforcement). Constant handballs to players under pressure was also the order of the day. Clearing the ball from the back line was painful to watch, for if the turnover wasn’t forthcoming inside Port’s attacking 50, it would come as Brisbane would allow the extra defender that Port used from the start to intercept, overlap and create score after score.

In a pleasing sign for Port, a few of their lesser known players I felt played very well yesterday. The usual suspects such as Wingard and R.Gray did their usual damage even if Wines was a little quieter, but players many outside of 5AA’s licenced listening area would have heard of a few of these names. Karl Amon looked lively up forward, Jarman Impey had a career night as whatever defensive pressure the Lions applied seemed to concentrate on the big guns, Sam Gray (no relation to Robbie) was resolute in defence and pushed forward as the extra man allowed him to, and bookmakers may have firmed the price of Sam Powell-Pepper for the Ron Evans Medal after another good game on the road.

Hard to make a case for the Lions youngsters based on this performance to get a pass mark. Before the game I admit I was excited to see Eric Hipwood run around, yet thanks to the ineptness from his mates the only real highlight from the Rising Star nominee was a nice pick up and snap in the 3rd term, such was the starvation factor up front. Josh Schache suffered the same fate, but the fact that he’s in Brisbane will probably ensure he won’t be compared to Tom Boyd any time soon with his low output. Early draft choice Hugh McCluggage would have had as many touches on Saturday as I had trips to the loo in a typical 72 hour span. Many of the other youngsters couldn’t handle the heat as it was applied to them. Even their best player on the night in Mitch Robinson will be better remembered during this game for a little exuberance in kicking a goal that put them only 13 goals behind in the last quarter. It will be a long road for them to travel towards relevance, let alone competitiveness or beyond that, a return to the glory days 15 years ago when the Lions were arguably more popular than the Broncos.

With the heat off Ken Hinkley, a tip of mine to be first coach sacked this season given the scrutiny over teams in Adelaide by their local media outweighs what Melbourne media apply to coached based in their city, Port will be looking to consolidate their place in the 8. Whether this game will tell us anything about their prospects would be debatable given the ease in which they were able to do as they pleased and the lack of effort from the home side. Perhaps a home game against the Eagles may give us a better indication on if they are a potential contender or just another pretender. They didn’t seem to fazed by the prospect of facing better opposition next week based on the demeanor in the Brisbane Airport Virgin Lounge on Sunday Afternoon, much like most of Queensland who won’t have to work on Monday……well except me because I have an early start.



BRISBANE 10.7.67

BRIS: Hipwood 2.0, Robinson 2.0, Close 1.1, Taylor 1.1, Zorko 1.1, C.Beams 1.0, Cutler 1.0, Schache 1.0, Lester 0.1, McCluggage 0.1, RUSHED 0.2
PORT: R.Gray 4.4, Dixon 4.3, Impey 4.1, Trengove 3.1, Powell-Pepper 2.0, Wines 1.1, Amon 1.0, Ebert 1.0, S.Gray 1.0, Ryder 1.0, Polec 0.2, Houston 0.1, Pittard 0.1, Wingard 0.1, Young 0.1, RUSHED 0.2

BRIS: Robinson, Taylor, Cutler
PORT: Wingard, Amon, Impey, Dixon, Ryder, R.Gray, Powell-Pepper, S.Gray

2: Karl AMON (PORT)
1: Sam GRAY (PORT)

GOAL: Tristan SYMES, Alistair MELDRUM

CROWD: 13638 at The Gabba

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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