Hugh McCluggage celebrates a goal during Brisbane's clash against Greater Western Sydney in round 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE has put together one of its most complete performances of the season, demolishing Greater Western Sydney by 40 points at Manuka Oval on Saturday.

After injuries and COVID-19 ripped through them the previous week, the Lions cantered to a 15.9 (99) to 9.5 (59) triumph, giving coach Chris Fagan some nice selection headaches in the process.

GIANTS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

The midfield, led by Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and rugged inclusion Rhys Mathieson, laid the foundation, smashing the Giants 49-24 in the clearances and giving Brisbane field position all afternoon.

They generated 58 inside 50s to just 35, and despite three late goals by the Giants, were able to stifle their ball movement the entire match.


Hugh McCluggage was on another level, kicking an equal career-high four goals to go with an equal game-high 30 disposals, while Charlie Cameron (three goals), Cam Rayner (three), Eric Hipwood (two) and Dan McStay (two) all profited from the great work further afield.

BEAUTY OF THE BEAST Fagan sings Mathieson's praises

After losing four of their previous seven matches, the visitors were in no mood for mucking around, blanketing the Giants' every move with suffocating pressure and well-organised defence, racing to an 18-point quarter-time lead.


They led by as much as 59 points and have solidified a top-four spot.

Mathieson (23 disposals, 10 clearances) was magnificent in his first senior game of 2022, while Neale (26) shook an early Lachie Ash tag.

Keidean Coleman was the architect from the back half of the ground, while Nakia Cockatoo also impressed in a change in roles to defence.


With captain Dayne Zorko, Daniel Rich and Jarrod Berry all due back from injury against Gold Coast next week, Fagan has some tough decisions ahead following the all-round performance.

The Giants could thank full-back Sam Taylor for being within reach during the first half, as he won the ball back a staggering 12 times from intercepts in the opening two quarters alone.

Taylor (15 intercepts from 20 disposals) and Harry Himmelberg (10 intercepts from 30) held back the tidal wave of inside 50s, while Toby Greene (four goals) played a lone hand at the other end.

Sam Taylor marks during Greater Western Sydney's clash with Brisbane in round 18, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

With Brisbane still dominating general play, Greene was able to beat opponent Brandon Starcevich back to goal twice and added a third for the second term – and fourth for the half – just before the main break to bring his team within seven points.

It was as close as the Giants would get.

'The Beast' is back
After not gracing the field once at senior level this season, Rhys 'The Beast' Mathieson made a fantastic fist of his first opportunity. Spending much of the day in his customary onball position, Mathieson brought his usual physicality to the contest from the opening minutes, winning clearances and niggling any Giant that came near him. He finished with 23 disposals, including a whopping seven free kicks for, extracted 10 clearances and made sure Chris Fagan would have to think long and hard before sending him back to the VFL again.

Rhys Mathieson handballs during Brisbane's clash against Greater Western Sydney in round 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Toby Greene Show
Considering how little ball got past the centre circle in the Giants' direction, what Toby Greene did was remarkable. With Brisbane's best small defender Brandon Starcevich wearing him like a glove, the mercurial Giant somehow kept his team in the game with four first-half goals. The first came from a 50m penalty against Noah Answerth, the next two from perfect kicks that found Greene just a metre or two over-the-back of his opponent, and the fourth a brilliant second-effort mark and goal.

McStay shows Fagan another side
With Oscar McInerney the sole Lion missing through health and safety protocols this week, Darcy Fort played – and did it well – as the No.1 ruckman. While Fagan has tried Joe Daniher as the back-up on occasions, he went with Dan McStay against the Giants, with fantastic results. The Brisbane key forward won a free kick late in the first term from a ruck contest and slotted his second goal, and during the second term was able to deftly tap a hitout to Neale who found McCluggage for his second goal. If McStay holds up in his new role, it might allow the Lions to go with one recognised ruckman.


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY          1.1       5.2       6.2        9.5 (59)
BRISBANE                                         4.1       6.3      11.8      15.9 (99)

Greater Western Sydney: Greene 4, Hogan, Taranto, Kelly, Himmelberg, Lloyd
Brisbane: McCluggage 4, Cameron 3, Rayner 3, Hipwood 2, McStay 2, Coleman

Greater Western Sydney: Taylor, Himmelberg, Greene, Taranto, Coniglio
Brisbane: McCluggage, Coleman, Mathieson, McStay, Neale, Rayner 

Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Brisbane: Nil 

Greater Western Sydney: Callum Brown (unused)
Brisbane: Tom Fullarton (unused)