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Slow-starting Blues left behind

Michael Whiting, AFL Media  July 23, 2017 8:19 PM

Highlights | Carlton v Brisbane Lions The Lions and Blues clash in Round 18.

Brisbane has outlasted Carlton by 30 points in a rollercoaster affair at the Gabba on Sunday night.

On the back of a blistering first half, the home team skated to a 56-point lead early in the third quarter and the match looked over.

But Carlton had other ideas.

Almost as if they’d changed jumpers at the main break, the Blues surged back with seven successive goals to get within 11 points early in the final term.

They looked like overrunning the tired Lions, but the hosts steadied.

A 50m bomb by Daniel Rich, another from similar distance by Eric Hipwood and a clever snap by Jake Barrett was enough to steady the ship and get the Lions their fourth win of the year – 17.10 (112) to 11.16 (82).

Lions coach Chris Fagan was relieved after the match.

"We'd spent a lot (of energy) in the first half," he said.

"Our blokes had gone flat out and Carlton were always going to come back because they’re a proud club and a proud team, and they did.

"We got beaten up in contested possession (39-16) in the third quarter and that was the key to the game.

"In the last quarter we were able to get it back on our terms.

"With this young team we’ve got, they’re going to be prone to those lapses and can they keep playing with that intensity, but by and large, our processes tonight to win that game were spot on."

Dayne Zorko was back to his exciting best, finishing with 26 disposals and three goals, with most of that damage done in the match-shaping first half.

After being kept quiet by taggers twice in the past month, the Blues inexplicably let Lions magician run free, and the little midfielder made them pay.

He kicked two goals in the first term, one a brilliant left foot snap from a stoppage and the other on the run from 45m on a tight angle.

Zorko is likely to come under the Match Review Panel microscope though after a punch to the stomach of Lachie Plowman early in the third quarter that left the Blue dry-heaving.

He also gave a back-hander to Sam Petrevski-Seton later in the term that seemed to collect the young forward high in a testy quarter.

Skipper Dayne Beams collected 30 touches and three goals in a superb performance, while Tom Rockliff tagged Blues star Bryce Gibbs (eight disposals) out of the game.

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton had no answers for his team's first half performance.

"Our guys, like usual, showed character and fought really hard, but ultimately when you give a team that sort of lead, you are playing catch up and we probably didn't have the energy in the back half of the quarter to complete it," he said.

"I thought in the first half, particularly the first quarter it's a learned readiness to be prepared for interstate games and we just lacked some composure and presence in the game."
 

The Lions made the usually stingy Blues defence look slow in the first half, with quick ball movement catching them out time after time.

Alex Witherden and Cedric Cox kicked their first career goals within a minute of each other, both brilliant finishes on the run.

But the Blues wouldn’t go away.

With the Lions losing their focus in the third, the visitors totally dominated.

Successive goals to David Cuningham, Matthew Wright, Nick Graham and Petrevski-Seton was just reward and gave them a sniff entering the last quarter.

Charlie Curnow’s huge pack mark and goal got them within two goals, but they would get no closer.

Marc Murphy (25 disposals) was terrific, while Sam Docherty (24) was also prolific.

MEDICAL ROOM

Brisbane Lions: Versatile tall Josh Walker limped off late in the second term with a calf injury. He had it strapped and came back out after the main break. The former Cat had an excellent first half but was slowed down after the setback, but was still a strong contributor. Defender Dan McStay was taken from the field in the third quarter with a shoulder problem, but came back to complete the match.

Carlton: In the midst of an excellent debut, Harry McKay was taken off during the third quarter with a shoulder complaint, but returned to finish the match. The No.10 pick from the 2015 draft provided an excellent target, finishing with 11 touches, six marks (three of them contested and four inside 50) and his maiden goal.

NEXT UP
The Lions make the long trip west to play West Coast in Perth next Sunday, while Carlton has a short turnaround and take on Geelong at Etihad Stadium next Saturday night.

BRISBANE LIONS    6.1   12.5   13.7   17.10 (112)                  
CARLTON                 0.4    3.6    7.13   11.16 (82)          

GOALS

Brisbane Lions: Zorko 3, D.Beams 3, Hipwood 2, Walker, Mathieson, McCluggage, Cox, Witherden, Lester, Taylor, Rich, Barrett
Carlton: Petrevski-Seton 2, C.Curnow 2, Wright 2, Casboult, McKay, Cuningham, Graham, Simpson 

BEST

Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Zorko, D.Beams, Lester, Taylor, Andrews
Carlton: Murphy, Kreuzer, Docherty, Simpson, Wright, C.Curnow

INJURIES

Brisbane Lions: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Haussen, O'Gorman, Hay

Official crowd: 18,847 at the Gabba