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Match report: Kangaroos keep finals hope alive … just

Highlights: Brisbane v North Melbourne The Lions and Kangaroos clash in round 20

NORTH Melbourne's season is alive after No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner continued Brisbane's season of heartbreak with a late miss at the Gabba on Saturday.

 With 30 seconds remaining, Rayner had the chance to be a Lions hero, awarded a free kick 30m out on a slight angle, but his around the corner attempt drifted to the right.

The Kangaroos hung on to win 16.11 (107) to 16.8 (104) to sit outside the eight on percentage.

ROOS WIN A THRILLER Full match coverage and stats

It was another devastating loss for Brisbane, who have also lost matches by five points to Gold Coast, Adelaide and Port Adelaide and seven points to Collingwood.

North outplayed the Lions for most of the match but can breathe a huge sigh of relief after leading by 24 points earlier in the term and almost stopping to a walk in the last quarter.

Coach Brad Scott said there was "an element of relief" with the victory.

RAYNER'S COSTLY MISS Five talking points

"I thought that when it really mattered, a lot of our players really dug deep and that's what I'm most pleased about," he said.

"I think there's a lot of character in our group and when they just had to find a way, they found a way.

"We can't control Rayner missing but we can control Robbie Tarrant's spoil on (Eric) Hipwood late, Kayne Turner as a forward getting up, defending basically on the last line after he slipped over, could’ve easily conceded.

GAMEBREAKER Ziebell stands tall

"They're the things that we'll take out of it."

In the absence of injured midfield ace Shaun Higgins, Trent Dumont stood up with 29 disposals – 21 of them in a dominant first half.

Jack Ziebell was a constant threat whether midfield or forward and finished with 26 touches and three goals, while Majak Daw was a colossus in defence.

The Kangaroos dominated play for much of the day and deserved their victory.

The Lions were lacklustre in the first half and looked out of the contest for most of the game before their late rally.

Young midfielders Jarrod Berry (28 possessions) and particularly Hugh McCluggage (26 and three goals) were largely instrumental for the fightback.

McCluggage's composure in traffic was exceptional for a second-year player.

The late miss will haunt Rayner, who seemed to rush his attempt.

Earlier this season he sprayed a shot wide on the run from 50m as the siren sounded against the Suns when he had a chance to level the scores.

Just minutes earlier he had brought the game within a straight kick after a composed mark and goal from 45m.

Coach Chris Fagan said his young team lacked composure in the final quarter, but was confident they'd learn from their mistakes.

"We were coming hard in that last quarter and we were dominating the game, but we were a bit hasty with some of our disposals," Fagan said.

"It's all part of our learning.

"The more games they get under their belt, the better they'll get at that.

"I'm glad we're in close games and not getting belted like we were last year."

Dayne Zorko (35 possessions and two goals) was almost a one-man show in the first half as the Lions floundered under North's pressure.

Harris Andrews won his much-anticipated match-up with Ben Brown, keeping the Coleman Medal leader to a solitary goal from a free kick in the final quarter.

MEDICAL ROOM
Brisbane Lions: No worries for the Lions with Oscar McInerney's corked quad in the third quarter the only minor concern. The backup ruckman limped around for a few minutes but took a strong mark moments later and played the game out. 

North Melbourne: Good news for the Kangaroos with a clean bill of health. Jarrad Waite got through his first full game in 10 weeks, kicking two goals.

NEXT UP
North Melbourne needs to keep on winning and has a great chance to do so next Sunday against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, while the Lions will make their second trip to the MCG for the season, playing Collingwood on Saturday night.

BRISBANE                   6.0       9.2       13.4     16.8 (104)
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.1       12.6     14.9     16.11 (107)

GOALS
Brisbane:
McCluggage 3, Rayner 2, Robinson 2, Mathieson 2, McInerney 2, Zorko 2, Hipwood, Taylor, Christensen
North Melbourne: Ziebell 3, Walker 2, Atley 2, Waite 2, Turner 2, Cunnington, Hrovat, Wood, Simpkin, Brown 

BEST 
Brisbane: McCluggage, Zorko, Berry, Christensen, Robinson, Andrews
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Dumont, Daw, Simpkin, Goldstein

INJURIES 
Brisbane: TBC                                                                                                                                 
North Melbourne: TBC

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Brown, Chamberlain, Pannell                    

Official crowd: 18,395 at the Gabba