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Match report: Lions douse Suns after early rally

Michael Whiting  August 12, 2017 9:06 PM

Highlights: Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast The Lions and Suns clash in round 21
AFL 2017 Round 21 - Brisbane v Gold Coast

Tom Rockliff booted three goals for the rampant Lions

THE BRISBANE Lions peeked through the window of their brightening future, and in the process helped an emotional Tom Rockliff celebrate a runaway QClash win over Gold Coast at the Gabba on Saturday night. 

The result completed a horror week for the Suns, who stormed to a 21-point quarter-time lead, only to watch the Lions dominate from then on and cruise to a 22.10 (142) to 12.12 (84) victory.

Full match coverage and stats

For Rockliff the win was extra special, coming just days after the Lions vice-captain mourned the loss of his young cousin. 

The win moves them a step closer to avoiding the wooden spoon, drawing level with Carlton and North Melbourne on five wins and trailing only on percentage.

WATCH: Rocky honours his cousin with big game

While Rockliff starred with 24 disposals and three goals, the Lions can largely thank Dayne Beams for the reversal after quarter-time, with the skipper winning his second Marcus Ashcroft Medal for the season with another sublime showing. 

Beams finished with 32 disposals, four goals, four assists and 13 score involvements, and dragged his team back into the game after a lacklustre first term.

Five talking points: Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast

The Lions kicked the last four goals of the second quarter, with Beams drilling one from 50m and setting up others for his brother Claye and forward Josh Walker as the home team arrested the momentum. 

They kicked the last six goals of the third quarter to take the sting out of the contest and race to a 32-point lead at the final change.

The final score was their highest since round 17, 2007 against Collingwood.

Coach Chris Fagan was delighted with the win, joking it was his quarter-time speech that flicked the switch to put his team into overdrive. 

"We just pointed out at quarter-time that even our GPS numbers were running really low," he said. 

WATCH: Lions 'hellbent' on avoiding the wooden spoon

"We were getting beaten in clearances and contested possessions and tackles, which has always been an indicator in this game against Gold Coast, is whoever wins that battle, wins the game. 

"It was just a matter of talking about those statistics and getting more effort from our players and trying to turn it around."

Beams' performance was as dominant as you'll see, but he had plenty of mates joining in as the match wore on.

Lewy Taylor (25 disposals and two goals) continued a fine season, buzzing around as a high half-forward and missing only one target for the match – in the fourth quarter.

Taylor was so clean he missed his only target in the fourth quarter. 

Jake Barrett kicked three goals while Daniel Rich (22) and Dayne Zorko (22) also contributed strongly.

For the Suns, it completed a tough five days after the sacking of coach Rodney Eade and the withdrawals of stars Tom Lynch (knee), Gary Ablett (hamstring) and Pearce Hanley (hamstring).

During the week, interim coach Dean Solomon asked his men to be harder at the ball and hungrier without it – and their first quarter delivered in spades. 

When the ball was in dispute, they were ferocious, leading the contested possessions 47-30 on the way to a handy quarter-time lead. 

And when the Lions got their hands on it, the Suns' defensive pressure was manic, racking up 15 tackles in their forward 50 before the hosts had one.

They won that stat 25-6 for the night. 

The Suns looked like a totally different team. 

Solomon said one-and-a-half quarters of competitive football just wasn't good enough.

"It's a consistent trend, we do fall away too easy," he said. 

"That's what we need to address. 

"There's no magic formula, it's pure hard work and that's what the boys are committed to for the next two weeks. 

"What we produced tonight was unacceptable for two-and-a-half quarters."

Touk Miller (29 disposals) and David Swallow (30) dominated the clearances, and Jack Martin was sublime playing close to goal, kicking three majors in the space of five minutes to give the Suns a well-deserved advantage.

Martin finished with 4.4 for the night and could have finished with seven or eight if he had kicked straight and grabbed the marks he got his hands to.

The Lions were slow early, but whatever Fagan said at quarter-time, worked. 

Taylor started finding space and the Lions got their swift transition game working, punctuated by Ryan Lester's goal just prior to the main break after a towering 55m pass from Eric Hipwood. 

The Suns also lost Sean Lemmens late in the game to a serious looking ankle injury.

MEDICAL ROOM
Brisbane Lions: The Lions had a clean bill of health from this one and are hopeful of getting young defender Alex Witherden back from a hamstring strain to play next Sunday. 

Gold Coast: Sean Lemmens left the field late in the fourth quarter with what looked to be a serious ankle injury. They hope to get both Gary Ablett and Pearce Hanley back from hamstring injuries to play next weekend.

NEXT UP
After winning their fifth match of the season, the Lions will fancy their chances next Sunday afternoon of upsetting Melbourne at the MCG. Gold Coast will play its final home game of the season next Saturday night against Essendon at Metricon Stadium.

BRISBANE LIONS    3.2    9.4    15.6     22.10 (142)
GOLD COAST            6.5    8.9    9.9       12.12 (84)

GOALS
Brisbane Lions: D. Beams 4, Barrett 3, Rockliff 3, Walker 2, Lester 2, Taylor 2, C. Beams, Hipwood, Bastinac, Mathieson, Close, Zorko
Gold Coast: Martin 4, Schoenfeld, Lemmens, May, Hall, Wright, Currie, Miller, Swallow 

BEST
Brisbane Lions: D.Beams, Taylor, Rockliff, Bastinac, Rich, Andrews
Gold Coast: Martin, Miller, Swallow, Currie, May, Hall 

INJURIES
Brisbane Lions: Nil
Gold Coast: Lemmens (leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: O'Gorman, Nicholls, Ryan

Official crowd: 17,772 at the Gabba