BRISBANE has thrust itself back near the top of the premiership conversation with an emphatic 49-point win over a disappointing Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Missing Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale for the first time since he joined the club, the Lions were full throttle from the opening bounce and ran out 13.15 (93) to 5.14 (44) winners.
Their third straight victory – and fourth in succession against Port – came on the back of a powerful midfield, fluent ball movement and brilliant defensive effort.
Port, the second-highest scoring team in the league, generated 58 inside 50s to Brisbane's 50, but led by dual All-Australian fullback Harris Andrews, the Lions gave barely a sniff.
Two of Port's five goals came deep into the final quarter.
Charlie Cameron was a constant danger in the forward half, kicking four goals in his best display of the season, while Joe Daniher continued to build on his impressive campaign with two goals.
Hugh McCluggage (31 disposals and six clearances) was class in wet conditions, while Jarryd Lyons, captain Dayne Zorko, Zac Bailey and Mitch Robinson all stepped up in Neale's absence.
LIONS v POWER Full match coverage and stats
Brisbane's hunt for the ball, and defensive intensity without it, exposed a Port outfit that didn't look up for the fight.
Ollie Wines, Willem Drew and Aliir Aliir aside, it was an uninspiring performance from Ken Hinkley's team.
The Lions jumped from the blocks quickly with goals to Dan McStay, Daniher, Cameron and Bailey all on the back of slick ball movement.
'WE DESERVED IT' Power couldn't handle contest
Harris Andrews back to his best
Emphatically beaten by Harry McKay, who kicked six goals on him last week, Harris Andrews bounced back with authority. Manning the imposing Charlie Dixon, Andrews was at his assertive best from the opening moments and barely gave Port's spearhead a look. He took six intercept marks in the opening half and when Dixon got an early chance, it was taken off him by a reversed free kick against teammate Hamish Hartlett. Andrews finished with a game-high 11 intercept possessions.
Port's troubles on the road
The ledger now reads 2-2 for Port away from Adelaide Oval, but dig a little deeper and Ken Hinkley might have some concerns. The two wins have come against battlers North Melbourne and Carlton, while the two losses have been against heavyweights West Coast and the Lions. Not only has Port gone under, but the nature of the performances are concerning, blown out on both occasions. West Coast dominated around the stoppages, while Brisbane totally blanketed Port's free-wheeling ways.
Is Charlie Cameron footy's Adam Gilchrist?
On a night when Charlie Cameron returned to his best with four goals, he also offered a curious moment of honesty during the third term. Just when it appeared he'd snapped his second goal and with teammates celebrating, the goal umpire signalling and the umpires dashing the ball back to the centre circle, a slightly shy Cameron signalled the ball had been touched off his boot. Replays showed he was right, and the players rushed back into position. It was (somewhat) reminiscent of former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who famously walked in a World Cup semi-final before being given out.
BRISBANE 4.5 8.8 11.15 13.15 (93)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 2.6 3.9 5.14 (44)
Brisbane: Cameron 4, Daniher 2, Bailey, Ah Chee, McCarthy, McCluggage, McStay, Prior, Zorko
Port Adelaide: Bergman, Drew, Gray, Wines, Woodcock
Brisbane: McCluggage, Andrews, Daniher, Zorko, Cameron, Lyons
Port Adelaide: Wines, Aliir, Drew, Amon
Port Adelaide: Burton (rib)
Brisbane: Berry (unused)
Port Adelaide: Mayes (replaced Burton)
Crowd: TBC at the Gabba