By the night’s end, it was the Lions – having entered the match with four-straight wins – who were licking even greater wounds than Geelong. Not only did Brisbane cough up their strong advantage, but they were also banged up, losing Mitch Robinson to a thigh knock, and having Cam Rayner (leg) and Hugh McCluggage (shoulder) both worse for wear.
After pegging a couple of goals back to trim the margin to 10 points at half-time, Geelong took complete control in the third quarter, posting 7.3 to the Lions’ solitary behind. The Cats’ big names stood up when needed despite needing to work harder than usual with limited rotations. Patrick Dangerfield was the Cats’ midfield talisman, more than ably supported by Sam Menegola and Joel Selwood.
On a night in which he fumbled much more than usual and chipped a kick out on the full, Gary Ablett still managed moments of brilliance, with two long-range goals including one in the third-quarter onslaught and several other nifty touches.
And Tom Hawkins did what few players have done in recent times, leading All-Australian defender Harris Andrews on a merry dance to finish with three telling goals.
Lions wingman McCluggage courageously played on after a heavy bump from Zach Tuohy during the second term but it was clear he was far from 100 per cent.
PUT A HAWK IN IT
It was a dirty night for Lions veteran Grant Birchall. The four-time premiership Hawk got sucked into the niggle vortex against old nemesis Selwood, dropping a punch in the guts of the Geelong captain which could earn the defender a fine. Worse was to come. As the Cats took complete control in the third term, Birchall was caught flat-footed behind the goal line, allowing Gary Rohan to mark uncontested and kick an easy goal.
MAKING A POINT
Rayner took an excellent juggling mark early in the second quarter, leaving him with a set shot from 40 metres to take care of business. Tuohy and Dangerfield tried to put the Lions youngster off, with Tuohy pointing in the opposite direction and Dangerfield – while manning the mark – standing at a right angle with his hands in the air as though trying to create an animal silhouette. The distractions didn’t work, with Rayner drilling the goal and then bumping the Brownlow medallist for good measure.
Charlie Cameron has emerged as one of the AFL’s best players, and he isn’t short on chutzpah. Cameron tried to keep the ball inside the boundary line on the wing early in the game before the force of Cats defender Jack Henry ensured a boundary throw-in. But with Henry getting up off the ground, Cameron dropped the ball onto the Cat’s head. No harm done though.
GEELONG 1.4 3.4 10.7 11.7 (73)
BRISBANE LIONS 1.6 4.8 4.9 6.10 (46)
Geelong: Hawkins 3, Menegola 2, Ablett 2, Rohan 2, Parfitt, Ratugolea.
Brisbane Lions: Rayner 2, McCluggage, Hipwood, Cameron, Neale.
Geelong: Dangerfield, Menegola, Hawkins, Selwood, Simpson, Tuohy, Guthrie, Ablett, Rohan, Blicavs.
Brisbane Lions: Neale, Zorko, Rayner, J Berry.
Geelong: Narkle (hamstring), Duncan (hamstring).
Brisbane Lions: McCluggage (shoulder), Robinson (quad).
Rohan (Geelong) on Starcevich in first quarter.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter