It may have only been their pre-season, but the Brisbane Lions made a strong statement against Geelong with a dominant 46-point victory, 13.13 (91) to 6.8 (45).
Josh Dunkley starred with 31 disposals to lead the fresh-faced midfield alongside Will Ashcroft (26) as the Lions will go into the season proper with confidence after defeating fellow 2022 finalist Sydney last week.
However, there were some injury concerns on the night, including a potential hamstring relapse for Jack Payne, while Eric Hepwood missed the remainder of the match after a massive collision.
Watch every match in every round of the 2023 Toyota AFL Premier season live on Kayo Sports. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now>
“7 teams” may win the flag in 2023 | 02:04
Match report quarter by quarter
Brisbane got off to the perfect start with the first three goals of the game including Jack Johnston hitting where he left off last week with the game’s first major leaguer.
Gunston wasn’t the only Lions recruit to impress early, as Pick 2’s Will Ashcroft enjoyed a hot start after a solid first off-season showing last week.
Joe Danniher kicked Brisbane’s fourth consecutive ball after he ran around Oscar McNearney as he kicked into the goal from the corner.
“It’s very similar to Geelong,” said Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall after the play on Fox Footy.
“To let Daniher round the back, knowing he’s left-footed and has time to kick on goal. You usually see them shut that down before Daniher even thinks about it.”
The Lions led by 26 points at quarter time, 4.4 (28) to 0.2 (2).
Lachie Neale fired a long-range bomb to open a 28-point lead for Brisbane in the second period as it was all one-way traffic.
The Cats finally got their first goal on the board near the halfway point in the second quarter after Gary Rohan turned a set shot after a free kick.
Oliver Dempsey scored twice for Geelong after collecting a neat end of play from Chris Scott’s side to create a 27-point lead.
Brisbane maintained their dominant play into the second season, but could not find success in their frequent inside 50 entries as their ineptitude in front of goal stopped the Lions and was already doing the damage.
Brisbane led 6.9 (45) to 2.3 (15) at half time.
The goals continued to lead the hosts in the second half, with Lincoln McCarthy slotting home against his old side.
A major collision occurred between Eric Hepwood, Isava Ratogulia and Sam de Kooning early in the third period, with all three players looking worse for wear despite the tremendous courage they displayed.
Having his head bandaged and also appearing to have a cork, Hipwood was ruled out for the rest of the game, though he seemed more precautionary than anything else.
Meanwhile, the Lions continued to score, as Keidan Coleman extended their lead to 43 points.
Brisbane led by 37 points at three-quarter time, 9.12 (66) to 4.5 (29).
Darcy Fort delivered one of the highlights of the game with a monster shot off the outside of 50 – maybe that just took a little luck – like the smirk the big guy let out after really kicking.
The Lions had a potential hit, as Jack Payne was perched on the back of their bench during the fourth quarter taking a swollen hamstring.
There was no love lost between the two teams in the final quarter including some pushing and shoving between Cam Guthrie and Ashcroft.
Tyson Stengle showed his tricks with a pre-season goal that weaves through a couple of Lions and really breaks – his second most of the game going with 20 disposals.
3. Is black the new favorite flag?
There were question marks last week over whether anyone could defeat the ruling Prime Minister Geelong, who has only grown stronger during the busy trade period.
But they may have just met their biggest rival in 2023.
The Lions, who themselves had perhaps the best off-season additions of any club, looked ominous from the first bounce, as if they were already playing the right season with intensity.
As Fox Footy’s Dwayne Russell said, Brisbane was really “putting a show on” its home fans with exciting ball action.
This is probably the Lions’ best chance yet of winning a pennant under Chris Fagan, with no real holes in his roster after several years of Finals shortcomings.
While there is ample conversation about recruits Josh Dunkley, Jack Johnston and Will Ashcroft, the rest of the star-studded roster also deserves praise, while the likes of Hugh McCluggage, Zac Bailey, Eric Hipwood, Cam Rayner and Deven Robertson should only continue to improve. .
It may only be their pre-season, but after also wrecking Grand Finalist Sydney last week, the Lions have issued something of a premiership statement.
2. Dunkel brand under its category “raises the level of respect”
After crossing over from the Bulldogs to the Lions on a six-year deal worth over $4 million, Josh Dunkley will be worth every cent with his new side.
The star midfielder put in another masterful performance in his unofficial second game in his new colours, notching 31 tackles with seven tackles.
Perhaps one aspect of Dunkley’s game that did not get enough recognition was his bravery, as he showed bravery throughout the game both in the air including game play while flying and on the ground by getting a lot of bruises in the contest.
“Dunkley got so brave when he attacked the footy from all angles, he ran with the ride up there,” said Hawks legend Jason Dunstall.
The Lions would go a long way, not only to use a boost to their midfield, but also to help Lachie Neale off the leash by giving the opposition another damaging player to pay attention to.
In Dunkley, Neale, Hugh McCluggage and Will Ashcroft, the Lions suddenly have the strongest midfield in the competition.
Bulldogs great Brad Johnson added: “As a teammate of Dunkley’s, you know what’s coming, but to actually see it live, that’s when your respect goes up a notch.
“Josh was excellent… He would really earn that with his practice players and perform at the highest level. He would be a great recruit.”
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF CAMEROONS AND HAWKINS LAID BARE AS POSSIBLE CAT FAULT
While the Cats were defeated in every area and all aspects of the game, I felt the absence of Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins – and thus the lack of attackers.
Hawkins is recovering from off-season foot surgery intended to sideline his opponent in the early rounds of the season, while Cameron has been rested for the competition.
The combination of last season’s 132 goals, irreplaceability and dismissal would have always hurt the Cats against one of the pennant favourites.
But with the opposition now poised to take on Cameron aggressively, he could be a potential blemish for the Cats to start the season proper, especially with Jack Henry also sidelined with a foot problem.
Of course, one of Geelong’s greatest strengths is their range of weapons in attack, with the likes of Tyson Stengel, Gary Rohan and off-season recruit Ole Henry still providing plenty of firepower.
But a team that seemed unstoppable — and basically was — for the majority of 2022 suddenly has an area of their game that isn’t as strong as it could be.
B: B.Starcevich, J.Payne, D.Rich
HP: C. McKenna, Andrews, D. Wilmot
A: W. Ashcroft, Z. Bailey, D. Robertson
HF: C Cameron, G Johnston, H McClough
F: Rayner C, Daniher J, Hepwood E
FOL: O.McInerney, J.Dunkley, L.Neale
Translator: L McCarthy, J Madin, K Coleman, J Prior, H Sharp, J Tunstill, De Fort, De Joyce
EMG: N Cockatoo, Lyons G, Fullarton T, Lister R
B: T Stewart, SD Koning, J Kologachnij
HP: Z. Touhy, E. Ratugulia, Z. Guthrie
C: M.O’Connor, M.Blicavs, S.Menegola
HF: B Dangerfield, O Henry, B Close
P: Stengel T, Rohan J, Myers J
FOL: R Stanley, C Guthrie, T Brun
I/C: J Bews, C. White, J. Siglar, T. Atkins, P. Parfitt, S. Simpson, O. Dempsey, M. Holmes
EMG: M.Knevitt, O.Mullin, O.Riccardi, T.Clohesy
Re-live the Brisbane vs Geelong match in the live blog below!
Can’t see the blog? click here.
Leave a Reply