No Lachie Neale, no problem.
Brisbane showed they could survive – and thrive – without their injured Brownlow Medallist as star recruit Joe Daniher played arguably his best match in a Lions jumper in the 49-point thumping of Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday night.
The Lions claimed their fourth-straight win over the Power and their fourth win in their past five outings in 2021 and sent a shot over the bow of the rest of the competition by smashing a legitimate premiership contender.
Brisbane pulled the plug on the Power early and continued to dominate the listless visitors, leading by 21 points at quarter-time, 38 at halftime and by 54 at the last change to hand Port their second loss of the season.
Daniher was a standout when the match was briefly in the balance with two goals, seven marks, seven contested possessions, seven scoring involvements, one goal assist, two clearances, three hit-outs and six inside 50s.
Charlie Cameron made a welcome return to form with four goals, Harris Andrews owned the skies and direct opponent Charlie Dixon in Brisbane’s defensive 50 while Hugh McCluggage continued his outstanding 2021 with 31 disposals, 15 contested possessions, six clearances and a goal to further his case for an All-Australian jumper.
After blowing St Kilda off the Adelaide Oval last week, Port looked flat at best and disinterested at worst and will take little form, confidence or momentum into next week’s Showdown.
Apart from Ollie Wines, Aliir Aliir and Willem Drew, few gave a yelp for the Power. The final margin flattered Port who kicked some consolation goals in junk time.
At the main break, Port had four more inside 50 entries than Brisbane but either butchered the ball with poor passes or sprayed their kicks at goal. Of their two majors up to halftime, one came from an uncharacteristic clanger from Brisbane’s Daniel Rich.
The Lions had more contested possession (plus 12), more uncontested possession (plus 31), more marks (plus 21) and three more tackles and clearances than Port who allowed Brisbane to stroll around the Gabba for most of the first half and did as they please.
After a lukewarm start to the season, the Lions have roared back into premiership conversations. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Lions small forward Charlie Cameron was all over social media the past week with videos of him dancing up a storm at training and in the gym. After a quiet start to 2021, he needed to produce some moves on the field. He had an appetite for the contest with four goals and a hand in one other. His defensive pressure was up too.
After a robust week-long debate about what jumper they could and could not wear in next week’s Showdown, the Power were prisoners of their own poor defensive pressure and grossly inefficient ball use. It wouldn’t matter what guernsey they don in the SA derby, if they repeat that flat first half against Adelaide, they will find it hard to get out of jail.
LIONS HOT-AND-COLD ON GOAL
Kicking inaccuracy has come back to bite Brisbane on a number of occasions in the Chris Fagan era. It did not cost them the premiership points against the Power but some wayward kicking in front of the sticks meant it took longer than it should have to put away Port. They kicked four-straight behinds to start the third term before a Lincoln McCarthy snap stopped the rot.
Brisbane covered for the loss of Lachie Neale (ankle) with ease, but the absence of Travis Boak (quad) really hurt Port. Boak – who finished second behind Neale in last year’s Brownlow Medal count – has been in some of the best form of his career. The Power missed his leadership and esteemed ball-winning powers as the Lions dominated the midfield battle. Too much was left to too few for Port.
LIONS: 4.5 8.8. 11.15. 13.15 (93)
POWER: 1.2 2.6. 3.9. 5.14 (44)
LIONS: Cameron 4, Daniher 2, McStay, Bailey, Ah Chee, Zorko, Prior, McCarthy, McCluggage
POWER: Drew, Gray, Wines, Woodcock, Bergman
Greg Davis’ best:
LIONS: McCluggage, Andrews, Lyons, Daniher, McCarthy, Cameron, Zorko
POWER: Wines, Drew, Aliir
POWER: Burton (ribs)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Greg Davis’ votes:
3: Hugh McCluggage
2: Harris Andrews
1: Jarryd Lyons
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