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Lions lock jaws on top-two spot

Eric Hipwood was strong in the air.

Eric Hipwood was strong in the air.Credit:Getty Images

Brisbane 13.10 (88) defeated Gold Coast 6.7 (43).

Lachie Neale laid claim to another potential three Brownlow votes with a typical 33-possession game while Charlie Cameron, Mitch Robinson and Hugh McCluggage all shone to varying degrees. Ominously, Eric Hipwood dragged in 10 marks and had what all leading forwards should regularly possess: presence.

Brisbane’s win took them to equal top spot with Port Adelaide – save for a decent gap on percentage – four points ahead of Geelong and with a six-point gap to Richmond.

At quarter-time, Brisbane had five goals on the board, a 28-point lead, their tails in the air and all signs pointing to a victory that would seal a double chance come October.

And when Dayne Zorko booted the opening goal of the second term after five minutes – matching his effort to notch the opening major of the game – Brisbane’s 33-point lead appeared insurmountable. And so it proved to be.

However, to their credit, the Suns matched it with their more-credentialled opponents on the scoreboard and for portions thereafter. With three goals to each club in the second stanza there was just a sniff at the main break that this win wasn’t quite locked away yet. It proved to be a false dawn however.

Izak Rankine attempts a spectacular mark but gives away a free kick.

Izak Rankine attempts a spectacular mark but gives away a free kick.Credit:Getty Images

By midway through the second quarter, Brisbane were playing a little undermanned too. Brandon Starcevich (concussion) went off early in the term after a heavy fall in marking attempt and Berry (shoulder) was soon also on the pine after aggravating his shoulder after being on the end of a heavy tackle.

At the main interval, too, Neale already had his customary 20 possessions to put a deposit down on at least one guaranteed Brownlow vote.

Brisbane’s half-time score was precisely double that of Gold Coast’s – 8.6 (54) to 4.3 (27). But during the finals, however,they’ll be hoping it’s not simply a double (chance) or nothing scenario.

BRISBANE LIONS 5.4 8.6 11.10 13.10 (88)
GOLD COAST 1.0 4.3 5.5 6.7 (43)

GOALS
Brisbane Lions: Rayner 3, Zorko 2, Cameron 2, Robinson, Berry, McCarthy, McStay, McCluggage, Hipwood.
Gold Coast: King 2, Corbett 2, Weller, Ainsworth.

BEST
Brisbane Lions: Neale, Hipwood, McCluggage, Robinson, Cameron, Rayner, Rich.
Gold Coast: Ellis, Anderson, Greenwood, King, Ainsworth.

INJURIES
Brisbane Lions: Berry (shoulder), Starcevich (concussion), McCarthy (corked leg).

CROWD
11,292 at the Gabba.

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