BRISBANE has hung on to second place by the skin of its teeth, edging St Kilda by two points in a nail-biter at the Gabba on Sunday afternoon.
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Played in front of 13,750 spectators - the biggest crowd in Brisbane this season - the home team again suffered from the goalkicking yips but did enough to win 6.14 (50) to 7.6 (48).
It was the Lions’ third victory by less than a goal in the past six matches.
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Jarrod Berry (20 disposals and two goals) was excellent for the victors, while Harris Andrews (16) led a defence that was under pressure for much of the final quarter.
Jack Billings brought the Saints within three points with a neat checkside finish, before Zak Jones sprayed his hurried right foot shot wide with less than three minutes remaining.
It was the final score of the match.
Brisbane led by 11 points at quarter-time, four at the half and 10 at three-quarter time but could never free themselves of the Saints, with inaccurate goalkicking again a major problem.
To St Kilda's credit, it never relented and showed its performance against Geelong two weeks ago was an aberration.
Jones (23) and Jack Steele (25 and 10 tackles) were terrific for the gallant Saints.
Brisbane's goalkicking woes continue
Brisbane's inaccuracy has been a problem for much of the season and again reared its head. The Lions dominated the first quarter but kicked just 2.5 and then again were all over the Saints in the third term for a return of 3.6. The conditions were windy and not everything was straight forward, but the repeated misses kept the opposition in the game far longer than they should have been. Forward Eric Hipwood was the chief culprit – among many – kicking three behinds and failing to make the distance on another gettable shot.
Is Linc McCarthy in trouble?
Brisbane's powerhouse half-forward Lincoln McCarthy could come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer for a second-quarter bump on young Saint Ben Paton. With the ball bouncing around Brisbane's 50m arc, McCarthy went to shepherd Paton as teammate Jarrod Berry collected the ball. The block appeared to get Paton high and with some force, although it's unclear exactly where. Paton laid on the ground for 30 seconds but got back to his feet and played on.
Saints' Man of Steele
Jack Steele continued his fine season with another workhorse midfield display. Steele was the engine for the Saints all day, racking up nine first-quarter disposals, 18 by the half and 22 with an important goal by three-quarter time. He finished with 25, including 17 contested. With Seb Ross doing a first-rate negating job on Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale – keeping him to 19 disposals – Steele was the most prolific midfielder on the ground. The 24-year-old surely has strong claims for an All Australian berth.
BRISBANE 2.5 3.6 6.13 6.14 (50)
ST KILDA 1.0 3.2 6.3 7.6 (48)
Brisbane: Berry 2, Bailey, Cameron, Fullarton, McCarthy
St Kilda: Butler 2, Billings, Kent, Marshall, Membrey, Steele
Brisbane: Andrews, Berry, Lester, Bailey, Zorko, McCluggage
St Kilda: Steele, Jones, Marshall, Ross, Hill, Membrey
St Kilda: Nil