A BARNSTORMING second half by the Brisbane Lions has kept their season afloat and relieved some of the pressure on coach Michael Voss, with his side surging to a 28-point win over Melbourne at the Gabba.
The home side took a slender six-point lead to the sheds at half-time but finally found enough fluency after the main break to run out 17.20 (122) to 14.10 (94) winners.
Melbourne kept coming and kicked the final three goals of the match to add some credibility to the scoreboard.
The win pushes the Lions to 2-3 and just a game outside the top eight ahead of a treacherous run of eight matches that will help determine the future of out-of-contract Voss.
The Lions play the Swans in Sydney next Sunday and follow that with a home match against West Coast and trip to Melbourne to play Essendon.
In his 150th match, Brent Moloney was the catalyst for the Lions' victory against his old club, racking up 35 disposals, including 10 clearances.
He was a major reason for a total Lions domination with the ball, as they won the disposal count 418-302 and the inside 50s 63-47.
"He was brilliant," Voss said after the game. "To have 10 clearances and the domination he had on the game was pretty important in the overall outcome.
"You always got the feeling he was a guy that would step up to the moment, not necessarily avoid it.
"He's a pretty mature sort of guy and pretty independent and knows what it takes. I didn't even refer to it (playing his old club) during the week, he just knows how to handle those situations."
"Brent played particularly well,” Neeld said.
“If you've got a player who has that number (of possessions) that weighs in the opposition favour.
“The Lions got it away from us from the contested possession.
“The centre bounce was particularly good for them and we weren't combative enough in that area."
Voss said he hoped the win would be a confidence-booster for his side.
"We've cleaned up in the statistics side of things so it was more about being able to walk away with four points and getting players back in form so they should be feeling pretty confident out of that," Voss said.
The Lions' midfield dominance didn't translate to scoreboard pressure though as Melbourne clawed and scrapped to stay in the contest.
The Lions were hesitant going forward, and their numerous turnovers kept the Demons within reach, but eventually the dam wall broke as the home team slammed on 10 goals to seven in the second half.
While it notched a crucial four points, the performance lacked polish, particularly in a horrible second quarter that was best summed up by a passage of play between Demon Shannon Byrnes and Lion Dayne Zorko.
Byrnes attempted to clear in his own defensive 50, only to kick it straight to Zorko at point blank range, who returned serve by kicking it straight back over his head for a goal.
In fairness, the Lions were missing their three best ball users and it was apparent.
The absence of suspended winger Pearce Hanley, injured midfielder Daniel Rich (broken shoulder) and still-returning champion Simon Black created a chasm in class that couldn't be filled.
Hanley will return next week, while Black has had two matches in the reserves after off-season knee surgery and could come into consideration.
There was a number of positives for the home team though, who worked hard for all four quarters, with third-gamer Sam Mayes (28 disposals) a standout.
His poise and composure is far beyond his 18 years.
Brisbane Lions youngster Marco Paparone dishes out a handball under pressure. Picture: AFL Media
BRISBANE LIONS 5.3 7.11 13.14 17.20 (122)
MELBOURNE 5.3 7.5 10.7 14.10 (94)
Brisbane Lions: Brown 3, Leuenberger 3, Zorko 3, Cornelius 2, Polkinghorne, Adcock, Redden, Paparone, Bewick, Rockliff
Melbourne: Howe 2, Gawn 2, Bail, N Jones, Jamar, Tapscott, Watts, McKenzie, Rodan, Pederson, Davey
Brisbane Lions: Mayes, Moloney, Leuenberger, Zorko, Rockliff
Melbourne: Trengove, Watts, Terlich, Grimes, Sylvia
Brisbane Lions: Nil
Brisbane Lions: Sam Docherty on for Billy Longer in the fourth quarter.
Melbourne: Aaron Davey on for Sam Blease in the third quarter.
REPORT: James Polkinghorne (Brisbane Lions) for tripping in the first quarter.
Umpires: McBurney, Bannister, Leppard
Official crowd: 19,018 at the Gabba