EIGHT days after being accused of not caring in their loss to Gold Coast, the Brisbane Lions have staged a brave second half to overcome Carlton by nine points and win their first game of the season at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Stung by coach Justin Leppitsch following their fifth straight loss last Saturday, the Lions kicked five goals to three in the third quarter and hung on to win 12.12 (84) to 11.9 (75).
Afterwards, Leppitsch stopped short of declaring his relief as he believed the fall out from last week's loss was made out to be bigger than it was.
"I think the week was built up more externally than internally but it's just good to win because we hadn't won a game yet for our group and 'Beamsy' and Christensen and Robinson haven't won in this jumper, Harris, people like that," Leppitsch said.
"It's good for our group to build a little bit of belief."
It was the battle of the unlikely goalkickers with Daniel McStay and Levi Casboult engaging in a shoot-out, but ultimately the class of Dayne Beams and the second-half performance of Allen Christensen led the Lions to victory.
McStay, who has taken up a forward role given the Lions' injury-hit attack, kicked a career-high four goals and was their focal point inside 50.
But the former defender also ventured up the ground, notably spoiling Andrejs Everitt' attempted mark in the second term.
Defender Harris Andrews also showed a bit in his fourth AFL game with seven marks while Stef Martin had 38 hit-outs and won five clearances.
Both Beams brothers were good but ex-Magpie Dayne had an impressive 29 touches and won seven clearances after it looked like Chris Judd and Bryce Gibbs were going to dictate proceedings at the stoppages early.
Leppitsch still realistic on where Lions sit
The Lions' other big off-season recruit Christensen had 15 touches in the second half after starting slowly, while Josh Green kicked two important goals in the third term as they wrestled back a 14-point deficit.
And they did it despite being rocked by a nasty incident that saw Nick Robertson carried off after colliding head-first with the fence in the third term.
The 19-year-old was knocked out and briefly convulsed as he lay on the turf on the city-side wing. He regained consciousness before leaving the field but was able to return after the concussion substitute window was fulfilled, and be there for the drought-breaking win.
Darcy Gardiner also finished on the pine after hurting his left ankle and left the field on crutches, with the severity to be assessed during the week.
Judd and Gibbs set the pace early for the Blues and Casboult kicked four goals, while Dale Thomas returned from his round one shoulder injury to collect 19 possessions without starring.
The Blues led for most of the game but their biggest advantage didn't exceed three goals.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse later blamed their third quarter where the Blues gave up their 14-point lead by conceding the last three goals of the term, before the Lions opened the final quarter with back-to-back goals.
"That third quarter. I just thought if we could just squeeze another goal out of it. Goals were hard to get by both clubs," Malthouse said.
"I just thought it we could manage to get that next one … Every goal that we got we had to fight for. The goals that they got were pretty well structured."
The Lions' strong performance came despite a quiet game from Daniel Rich, Dayne Zorko being culled by Ed Curnow and Tom Rockliff having a modest 19 touches after being knocked out last week.
With Dylan Buckley and Kristian Jaksch among the serial offenders in turning the ball over, the Blues were untidy and are sure to face the fire of Mick Malthouse again after he said "we embarrassed ourselves" just over a week ago.
Malthouse will be feeling the pressure with the Blues second last on the ladder with one win, clear of only the Lions on percentage.
Mark Whiley and Tom Rockliff engage in a scuffle on Sunday. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media.
CARLTON 3.2 6.4 9.7 11.9 (75)
BRISBANE LIONS 3.1 5.4 10.9 12.12 (84)
Carlton: Casboult 4, Bell 2, Murphy 2, Cripps, Judd, Jones,
Brisbane Lions: McStay 4, Green 3, Taylor, Leuenberger, Lester, Christensen, Rockliff
Carlton: Bell, Curnow, Judd, Gibbs, Docherty, Casboult,
Brisbane Lions: D Beams, Martin, McStay, Andrews, Christensen, Green, Taylor
Brisbane Lions: Robertson (head), Gardiner (ankle)
Carlton: Nick Graham replaced Dylan Buckley at three-quarter time
Brisbane Lions: Tom Cutler replaced Marco Paparone in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Bannister, Chamberlain, Ryan
Official crowd: TBC at Etihad Stadium