Highlights: Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne
The Lions and Roos clash in round 16
Dayne Zorko and Daniel Rich celebrate during the Lions' incredible comeback
NORTH Melbourne's inability to close out sizeable late-game leads is set to haunt it through the AFL off-season after yet another nightmare fadeout against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.
Holding a 33-point advantage late in the third term, the Kangaroos wilted badly as the Lions kicked 11 of the last 13 goals for a thrilling 18.9 (117) to 17.3 (105) win in front of 18,131 boisterous Gabba fans.
It was North's fifth loss this season after leading at the final change to confirm its tag as the League's 2013 chokers.
A victory would have put the visitors one win from the top eight but their finals hopes are hanging by a thread after they dropped to 11th on the ladder.
On the flip side, 13th-placed Lions kept their slight hopes of finals football alive and showed they are the comeback kings of the competition by following up on their recent revival against Geelong.
"That's three or four weeks in a row now that we've finished off really strong," Voss said.
"We were within striking distance, that's all they needed to know. That we'd finished off games pretty strong and they should have some confidence in their legs and let it carry them the journey.
"We've had a few of these teams around us on the ladder, a lot the last few years, and we haven't been able to win those ones.
"To do that tonight and (make it) back to back wins (was great)."
The Lions looked dead and buried when Drew Petrie snapped his fourth goal at the 20-minute mark of the third term to continue the Kangaroos' amazingly accurate run in front of goal.
The Kangaroos were hampered by the early loss of Lachie Hansen, who was concussed in the third minute in an innocuous clash with Pearce Hanley and was subbed out during the first term.
Aaron Mullett (ankle), Robbie Tarrant (knee) and Andrew Swallow (hand) were also hurt during the bruising contest.
"The reason we lost the game is because we couldn’t get across to the contest and we couldn't win it when we did get there," Scott said.
"Brisbane out-worked us in the second half and that's it. The reasons for that, well, we'll have a look at that."
The home team's numerical advantage on the bench started to tell with three straight goals before the last change, including a contentious buzzer-beater by captain Jonathan Brown which might have been touched by Jamie MacMillan.
With first-round draft pick Sam Mayes (three goals, 20 disposals) starring, the Lions went on to grab an unlikely lead eight minutes into the final quarter.
Petrie and Daniel Wells steadied the ship for the Kangaroos but the Lions closed the game out with a second brilliant goal of the night to Irishman Hanley, who shrugged a tackle and snapped truly.
For most of the night, it appeared the Kangaroos' superior ball movement and polish in front of goal would end an eight-year drought at the Gabba.
To highlight their kicking accuracy, the Kangaroos did not miss a shot at goal from the 18-minute mark of the first term to the 17-minute mark of the third when Petrie missed a set shot for just their second behind of the match.
Missing Simon Black (knee) and Brent Moloney (calf), the Lions' midfield division worked hard but were outpointed for the first three quarters by the visitors with Sam Gibson (28 possessions) leading the way before Daniel Rich (22) and Tom Rockliff (28) came into their own.
Aaron Black and Joel Patfull contest during the thrilling match on Saturday night. Picture: AFL Media
BRISBANE LIONS 2.2 5.5 11.6 18.9 (117)
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.1 10.1 14.3 17.3 (105)
Brisbane Lions: Brown 3, McGrath 3, Hanley 3, Mayes 3, Staker 2, Merrett, Zorko, Lester, Green
North Melbourne: Petrie 5, Tarrant 3, Black 3, Cunnington 2, Mullett, Bastinac, Wells, Harvey
Brisbane Lions: Mayes, Hanley, Rockliff, Rich, Adcock, McGrath
North Melbourne: Petrie, Swallow, Gibson, Atley, Harvey, Ziebell
Brisbane Lions: Nil
North Melbourne: Hansen (concussion), Tarrant (knee), Swallow (hand), Mullett (ankle)
Brisbane Lions: Josh Green replaced James Polkinghorne at three-quarter time
North Melbourne: Brad McKenzie replaced Lachie Hansen (concussion) in the first quarter
Umpires: Schmitt, Hay, Mollison
Official crowd: 18,131 at the Gabba