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Lions share top spot after pouncing on wayward Dees

Jack Viney edged the Demons to within 11 points of Brisbane early in the fourth term as the Lions then peppered the goals for a series of behinds. Steve May desperate dive to get a touch on a Hugh McCluggage shot was crucial.

Dayne Zorko conceded a 50 metre penalty which allowed to Nathan Jones to keep the Dees in it. Melksham’s third goal cut Brisbane’s cushion to just two points.

A step ahead: Jarrod Berry sends the ball forward for the Lions.

A step ahead: Jarrod Berry sends the ball forward for the Lions.Credit:Getty Images

A score review on a potential Lions behind disrupted the Demons’ momentum. A 50 metre penalty against Bayley Fritsch didn’t help either.

The Lions looked well in control until the frenetic fourth quarter.

After a torrid first half, Charlie Cameron kicked his first goal from up against the boundary line after Neville Jetta – who copped two head knocks earlier – conceded a deliberate out-of-bounds.

Melksham struck back for the Demons who should have got even closer to the Lions when Harley Bennell had a close-range running shot at goal only to badly hook the ball for a behind.

Revved up: Charlie Cameron celebrates a goal at Metricon Stadium.

Revved up: Charlie Cameron celebrates a goal at Metricon Stadium.Credit:Getty Images

A minute later Cameron converted a running shot down the other end of the field for an 11-point swing that helped the Lions extend their lead to 18 points at the last change.

Torrential rain swept through Metricon Stadium an hour before the first bounce which made a traditionally slippery night-time surface all the more difficult to navigate for both teams.

The person in charge of the PA system saw the funny side of the short but intense storm by blaring Dragon’s song Rain over the loudspeakers.

And it was Brisbane who hit more high notes in the first half as they took a 14-point buffer into the main break.

The teams were locked at 2.2. (14) at quarter-time after Gawn dominated hitouts to advantage but the Demons were unable to win a majority of the clearances.

Eyes on the prize: Max Gawn gets front spot in a ruck contest against Oscar McInerney of the Lions.

Eyes on the prize: Max Gawn gets front spot in a ruck contest against Oscar McInerney of the Lions.Credit:Getty Images

Cam Rayner and Zac Bailey kicked the goals for Brisbane who had the better of it early before Melbourne enjoyed the upper hand but were only able to hit the scoreboard through soccered goals to Melksham and Bayley Fritsch.

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Fritsch’s second goal early in the second term put the Dees in front for the first time after Oscar McInerney conceded a silly 50 metre penalty which enabled Gawn to find his teammate with a pinpoint pass.

And it was pretty much all Brisbane after that with a slick interchange of handpasses between Neale and McCluggage releasing Zorko for a successful snap at goal.

An Eric Hipwood snap and Lincoln McCarthy set shot then helped the Lions surge further in front as Brisbane enjoyed and capitalised on a significant territorial advantage on the back of seven more clearances, nine more contested possessions and 22 more total disposals by halftime.

Ruck and roll

The Lions ruck division was always going to be up against after losing Stef Martin to a stress fracture in the back and relying on Oscar McInerney and Archie Smith to counter Max Gawn. Gawn dominated the hitouts but the Dees midfield were not able to cash-in as Brisbane’s on-ballers sweated on his taps.

Grab and go

Missed opportunity: Cameron Rayner flew high but failed to bring down what would have been a special grab.

Missed opportunity: Cameron Rayner flew high but failed to bring down what would have been a special grab.Credit:Getty Images

Did Cam Rayner drop a car in the second quarter? The Lions forward spectacularly climbed high into the Gold Coast sky in the second quarter after leaping on top of Max Gawn’s head. The water-logged Sherrin slipped through his fingers as did his nomination for Mark of the Year.

Off target

The Demons were horribly wasteful in front of goal. Sam Weideman undid a lot of his excellent aerial work with some poor set shots while Harley Bennell missed a sitter by his lofty standard to name just a couple of offenders. Bad kicking is bad football. If the Dees want to compete with the big boys, they need to make more of their chances.

MELBOURNE 2.2 3.3 4.6 7.7 (49)
BRISBANE 2.2 5.5 7.6 7.11 (53)

GOALSMelbourne: Melksham 3, Fritsch 2, Viney, Jones
Brisbane Lions: Cameron 2, Zorko, Hipwood, Rayner, McCarthy, Bailey

BESTMelbourne: Gawn, Oliver, Viney, Melksham, Petracca, Lever
Brisbane Lions: Neale, McCluggage, Zorko, Lyons, Bailey, J Berry

UMPIRES: Fisher, Deboy, Meredith
VENUE: Metricon Stadium
CROWD: 3011

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