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Five talking points: Lions v Demons

Ciaran Baynes  April 28, 2013 5:50 PM

Highlights: Brisbane Lions v Melbourne The Lions and Demons clash in round 5
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Sam Mayes and the Lions' midfield dismantled the Dees

1. Voss earns a reprieve
It would have been difficult to see how Michael Voss had a future as Lions coach if his side had lost this game. As it is, he has a stay of execution. With 37 scoring shots to 24, the margin of victory should have been greater, especially if the Lions had kicked better in the second quarter. That said, there was little in the performance to suggest that the upcoming horror run of the Sydney Swans, West Coast, Essendon, Carlton and Collingwood will not end with the triple premiership-winning captain back under pressure by the time of the Lions’ round 11 bye.

2. Moloney on fire in 150th
Brent Moloney’s summer move north from the MCG was probably the difference between the sides. On his 150th AFL appearance, he led the match in disposals (35) and hard-ball gets (11), ensuring the Lions enjoyed the majority of the possession. In the first half, the Lions did not make enough use of this, but his presence ensured they had just enough ball to keep them in front of the Demons, before they ran away with the game in the second half.

3. Some positives for the Demons
Unlike Voss, results alone are unlikely to determine the fate of Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, at least in the short-term. The furore over the meek manner of defeat in the first two rounds, demanded a better effort and they certainly got that at the Gabba - following on from a good first half against West Coast and a thundering finish against the Giants. In addition, if the Demons kick as accurately in front of goal as they did in Brisbane, they will stay competitive in a number of games. 

4. Rookie standing up
With Daniel Rich and Simon Black missing, the Lions needed young midfielder/forward Sam Mayes to put in the type of performance they would expect from their two most cultured ball users. You would have to say the North Adelaide recruit did just that. Playing in just his fourth game, the eighth pick in the 2012 draft became increasingly effective as the game wore on, finishing with 28 disposals. His fine display was epitomised by a precision kick which found Brown’s chest 40m out in the third quarter, setting up a goal which extended the lead past 20 for the first time.

5. Watts moving forward
Jack Watts was moved forward in the second half and with limited opportunities did enough to suggest he may prove effective in this position. The highly-scrutinised 2008 No.1 draft pick kicked two goals, including one from the boundary line, and his 16 disposals came with an efficiency of just under 94 per cent. Whether the Demons will enjoy enough quality possession to allow him to flourish in this role is another question. "Jack showed his versatility today," Neeld said after the game. "He was also good in the back half in the first half of the game."