Hugh McCluggage celebrates a goal during the round 24 match between Brisbane and St Kilda at the Gabba on August 26, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE will host two finals at the Gabba after clinching second spot with a grinding 12-point win over St Kilda on Saturday night.

The 9.18 (72) to 9.6 (60) triumph completes a perfect 11-from-11 home record thus far in 2023 and sets up a home qualifying final against either Port Adelaide or Melbourne in two weeks.

St Kilda will now have to wait on the results of Sunday's games and could still finish sixth, seventh or eighth to determine whether its elimination final will be in Melbourne or Sydney.

LIONS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats

As expected, this was no cakewalk for Brisbane, particularly after a wayward first half kept the door ajar for the Saints.


The Lions lived in their forward half in the first two quarters (34-15 inside 50s) but only held a 14-point advantage after kicking just 4.11.

They deserved to lead by more.

After the break things changed as the Saints kicked the first three goals to snatch the lead.

However, with the lure of the home finals in their nostrils, Brisbane held firm in the fourth quarter, with Joe Daniher and Hugh McCluggage kicking crucial goals to give it some breathing space.

Daniher had another strong game, kicking two goals from 17 disposals, while Lachie Neale (30 and 10 clearances) became more influential as the game wore on, and Dayne Zorko and Keidean Coleman looked the most dangerous with ball in hand.

Brisbane ended up generating 23 more inside 50s, winning the clearances by 16 and contested ball by 12 to thoroughly earn their win.


The Saints battled hard but struggled to move the ball freely against an organised defensive set-up.

Callum Wilkie did his All-Australian claims no harms, blanketing Eric Hipwood in the Lion’s 150th game, while Rowan Marshall, Brad Crouch and Jack Sinclair all got plenty of the ball.


Brisbane led by a point at quarter-time but squandered numerous chances for an even greater advantage.

The most egregious of its eight behinds came early when Joe Daniher missed a set shot from the top of the square, but he wasn't the only culprit against a Saints team that typically worked hard to clog up space.


At the other end the Lions were a touch sloppy, with Mattaes Phillipou drifting into space on his own to grab a mark and kick a goal, while Jade Gresham was the beneficiary of a 50m penalty conceded by Josh Dunkley.

The home team really put the squeeze on in the second quarter, and although struggling to convert it on the scoreboard, deserved their 14-point lead at the main break.

Charlie Cameron turned a quarter chance into a goal when he cleverly kicked a loose ball off the ground, while Daniher finally got on the goalkickers list with great body work to take a contested mark before running into an open goal.


The game opened up in the third quarter with St Kilda dominating the early periods to snatch the lead with three straight goals.

But the Lions responded with the next three, one each to Cameron and Rayner with lightning speed, to set up a thrilling final quarter.


Is this the year for the Lions?
The premiership race is wide open, but this win gives Brisbane as good a chance as any team. Chris Fagan's men will host either Port Adelaide or Melbourne in a qualifying final, and if they're good enough, can then host the preliminary final at the Gabba, where they have not lost yet in 2023. Lincoln McCarthy is due back from a calf injury for September, while the rest of the list appears in good order, with – this one-off wayward kicking aside – most facets of their game appearing in good order. 

Darcy Wilmot celebrates with fans after the round 24 match between Brisbane and St Kilda at the Gabba on August 26, 2023. Picture: Getty Photos

The rollercoaster of Joe Daniher
Brisbane's lanky forward has had a magnificent season – worthy of All-Australian consideration – and added another series of highlights against the Saints. Like only Joe can, he started the night by missing a point-blank set shot from no further than 15m out directly in front, but he didn't take long to make amends. He finished with 17 disposals, kicked 2.3, including a critical goal in the final quarter, and took seven marks, including two contested. Again he was one of the Lions' best.


Josh Battle suffers concussion
Not for the first time in his career, Josh Battle suffered a concussion and was subbed out at half-time. The Saint ran into Eric Hipwood's shoulder in a second-quarter contest and went to ground, but soon got back to his feet and appeared sore but okay. He was assessed and replaced by Ryan Byrnes at half-time. Battle also had concussion symptoms late in his first season (2018) and again in 2020, but if he passes tests will be fine to resume his place in St Kilda's September campaign, with finals not due to begin until Thursday week.



BRISBANE     2.8      4.11    7.11    9.18 (72)
ST KILDA       3.1      3.3      7.5      9.6 (60) 

Brisbane: Cameron 2, Daniher 2, Zorko, Rayner, McInerney, McCluggage, Fletcher
St Kilda: Membrey 3, Wood, Phillipou, Hayes, Gresham, Crouch, Butler

Brisbane: Neale, Zorko, Coleman, Daniher, McInerney, Wilmot
St Kilda: Wilkie, Marshall, Wood, Sinclair, Crouch, Membrey

Brisbane: Nil
St Kilda: Battle (concussion)

Brisbane: Kai Lohmann (replaced Jarryd Lyons at three-quarter time)
St Kilda: Ryan Byrnes (replaced Josh Battle at half-time) 

Crowd: 31,689 at the Gabba