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Milestone man McGrath seals Lions' thrilling win over Cats

Highlights: Brisbane Lions v Geelong The Lions and Cats clash in round 13
Jordan Lisle and Ashley McGrath of the Lions celebrate a goal during the 2013 AFL Round 13 match between the Brisbane Lions and the Geelong Cats at the Gabba, Brisbane on June 23, 2013. (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/AFL Media)
Ash McGrath celebrates a goal against the Cats during the Lions' thrilling win
ASHLEY McGrath has completed a fairytale Brisbane Lions comeback win with a goal after the siren lifting them to a remarkable five-point victory over Geelong at the Gabba.

The Lions trailed by 52 points late in the third term, and kicked 10 of the last 11 goals to win 15.13 (103) to 14.14 (98) in the equal eighth-biggest comeback in VFL/AFL history. 


In his 200th career game, McGrath took a mark on the 50m arc with just seconds remaining.

The 30-year-old then coolly went back and slotted the winner after the siren.


"It's a boyhood dream, everyone does it when they're a small kid," McGrath said in the jubilant Lions dressing room post-match.
 
"You always dream of kicking the winning goal to get your team over the line. It's just a surreal feeling at the moment."
 
 
"If you're going to have a 52m shot for goal, Ash would be one of the guys I'd pick," Voss said.
 
"To get the win was a great effort."

The Lions looked shot on a number of occasions, but with huge final quarters from Brent Moloney (11 disposals) and new club games record-holder Simon Black (12), they completed the remarkable turnaround.

Moloney and McGrath both finished with three goals on a night when the Lions' tall forwards struggled to have a major impact. 


The trailed by 38 points at the last change and kicked eight goals to one to send a raucous Gabba crowd of 24,164 into raptures.

Daniel Rich levelled the scores inside the final two minutes with a goal from 50m, only for Tom Hawkins to regain the lead for the Cats with a behind with a minute remaining.

The Lions then swept the ball forward desperately to McGrath, who marked just in time.


The win moves the Lions to a 4-8 win-loss record, while the loss was Geelong's second of the season. It came from nowhere.

It may come at further cost with Steve Johnson likely to come under scrutiny from the Match Review Panel for his first-quarter bump on Pearce Hanley.

The bump appeared to collect Hanley high and left the Irishman dazed and on the ground for a few moments.

The Cats looked in control for most of the day and extended their lead through each of the first three quarters with a combination of intensity and precision.

Coach Chris Scott described his emotional state as "restrained fury" after coughing up the big lead.
 
"We're going to take the time we need to review it and make an accurate assessment. I'm not going to jump to conclusions now," Scott said. 
 
"Clearly, I'm emotional, we're emotional. I'm not going to speculate now. We'll move on after we've reviewed (the game) thoroughly. We're certainly not going to sweep this under the carpet."

Johnson, Jimmy Bartel, Joel Selwood and Mathew Stokes all collected 31 disposals while Tom Hawkins finished with 3.2, including the behind that briefly gave the Cats the lead before McGrath took it back. 


However, the match was turned on its head early in the fourth quarter with an amazing incident.

Johnson scrubbed a clearing kick into the feet of umpire Stuart Wenn, only for it to bounce back into the waiting hands of Daniel Rich, who fed Dayne Zorko for a running goal from 50m.

From there it was one-way traffic as the Lions stormed to an incredible win. 


Lions champion Simon Black gets a handball away against Geelong. Picture: AFL Media

BRISBANE LIONS        3.2   5.4   7.8      15.13 (103)
GEELONG                       5.3   9.7  13.10  14.14 (98)

GOALS
Brisbane Lions: McGrath 3, Moloney 3, Rich 2, Lisle, Patfull, Brown, Zorko, Adcock, Hanley, Golby
Geelong: Hawkins 3, Christensen 2, Motlop 2, Johnson 2, Mackie, Guthrie, Murdoch, Blicavs, Podsiadly

BEST
Brisbane Lions: Moloney, McGrath, Rich, Black, Redden
Geelong: Bartel, Johnson, Blicavs, Selwood, Stokes, Enright

INJURIES
Brisbane Lions: Nil
Geelong: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Brisbane Lions: Ryan Harwood replaced Sam Mayes during the third quarter.
Collingwood: Jesse Stringer replaced Jordan Murdoch during the third quarter.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Bannister, Wenn

Crowd: 24,164
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs