THE BRISBANE Lions put a turbulent week behind them with their biggest win of the season over Greater Western Sydney at the Gabba on Saturday night.
With former Fremantle mentor Mark Harvey taking over from the dumped Michael Voss as head coach, the Lions dominated the young Giants for an 18.15 (123) to 9.9 (63) victory.
Voss's controversial mid-week axing was met with one of the lowest home crowds the club has seen, with only 13,855 fans turning out to watch the lopsided affair.
"It's always hard to understand how the players are going to come out and react and play under those circumstances, it's very unique," he said.
"We were happy with the way we pressured a young team, particularly early, and hit the scoreboard and reversed the mindset.
"For the rest of the game we probably controlled the tempo which is probably a position we haven't been in a hell of a lot. From that point of view it was good."
Playing his first game in seven weeks after overcoming a groin strain, Simon Black again showed his class with 28 disposals against the outclassed GWS midfield.
The 60-point margin was almost double the 12th-placed Lions' previous biggest victory this season but it came after their remote finals hopes were snuffed out by Port Adelaide's and Carlton's wins earlier on Saturday.
There were few highlights for the Giants, but they showed plenty of heart in the final term, kicking five goals to two after trailing by 80 at the last change.
Jeremy Cameron was restricted to two goals from limited chances but his double sees him move into a three-way tie with West Coast's Josh Kennedy and Hawthorn's Jarryd Roughead for the Coleman Medal with two rounds to play.
While GWS boasts a host of rising stars, it was Lions first-year player Sam Mayes who shone most in the drizzle with four first-half goals and 21 possessions from the wing.
The Giants' heavy flooding tactics early backfired as they struggled for possession and opportunity.
Stephen Coniglio kicked long for the opening goal of the game, but it was the Giants' only major of the opening term as the Lions quickly took control.
With Black making an impressive return, the home team enjoyed a whopping 25 inside-50s to take a 28-point lead into quarter-time.
Giants coach Kevin Sheedy said
it was the first time in his two-year tenure he had given them "a spray".
"They've got 42 games under their belt now, plus a few NAB Cup games now. I thought it was a very ordinary effort in the first half," Sheedy said.
"I know Voss has left the club and I know there would have been a fair bit of emotion with the Lions and I know it's a long way from Fremantle after getting smacked there and flying to Sydney and flying up here and it's a short week, but you turn up to play – particularly in the first quarter.
"Our contested ball was very poor."
The Lions kicked seven more goals in the second quarter, highlighted by Mayes' fourth, a superb snap from the boundary line.
Brent Staker and Josh Green finished with three goals each.
Sheedy said the Giants could still take heart from their final-quarter fightback despite the match being effectively over.