Lions hold off fast-finishing Suns
BRISBANE roared, snored then clawed their way to a nail-biting two-point victory over Gold Coast in QClash 13 at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
The Lions led by as many as 47 points midway through the second quarter and by 46 points at halftime but were forced to survive a sizzling Suns comeback that set-up a grandstand finish.
The Gold Coast closed to one point with just three minutes left on the clock but the Lions scrapped and scraped frenetically in the dying seconds for a famous win in Chris Fagan's first match as Brisbane senior coach.
After running the Suns off their feet early with a great brand of football, Brisbane ground to a halt late in the battle for bragging rights in the Sunshine State.
A Lewis Taylor snap late in the fourth quarter gave the Lions some desperately needed breathing room but the Suns never stopped coming with Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch at the heart of the comeback.
Captain Dayne Beams was clearly best-on-ground and claimed the Marcus Ashcroft Medal with 28 touches, five clearances and six tackles while Ryan Bastinac kicked three goals.
Tom Rockliff had a game-high 37 disposals but did not have anywhere near the same impact as Beams who was in the thick of the action when Brisbane set up their win.
The Suns caught on fire in the third quarter kicking eight goals to Brisbane's three to slash the margin to just 17 points at three-quarter time.
After the stunning seven-goal blitz to start the match, the Lions lost control to the Suns who were unable to put much of a dent in Brisbane's handsome buffer.
It was a gritty arm-wrestle for much of the second term but the Lions rediscovered their scoring mojo with four goals in the quarter with Bastinac adding two majors and Daniel Rich unleashing his booming left boot.
Brisbane was breathtaking early. They were relentless.
Their quick and direct ball movement carved up the listless Suns who did not score until the 14th minute with a rushed behind.
The efficient Lions had less disposals, contested possessions, clearances and inside 50s than the Suns for the first quarter but still led by 31 points after Mitch Robinson (two goals), Dayne Zorko (two goals), Michael Close, Eric Hipwood and Tom Bell all cashed in Brisbane's excellent effort and commitment.