GREATER Western Sydney started Saturday's match against Brisbane at the Gabba at 2.30pm – the problem was the contest started 20 minutes earlier.
Almost as if their game-day flight from Sydney was delayed, the Giants were nowhere to be seen early, as the rampant home team slammed on six unanswered goals to lay the groundwork for a commanding 64-point win.
LIONS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
The 19.15 (129) to 10.5 (65) victory was Brisbane's seventh in succession, setting up a mouth-watering Friday night match against competition leaders Melbourne – scheduled to be played in Alice Springs.
The Lions could not have been more impressive in the opening 20 minutes, with Charlie Cameron starting the blitz inside the opening 20 seconds, roving a contest and wheeling around to snap truly on his right boot.
It was hard to tell whether the 22,038 home fans were watching Australian football or basketball's Harlem Globetrotters, so dynamic were the Lions.
Daniel Rich launched a torpedo from 55m on a tough angle, Dayne Zorko side-footed accurately off the ground from 30m and Cameron skillfully tapped the ball along the boundary line to himself to set up an easy goal for Dan McStay.
It was champagne football.
Brisbane had the better of the engine room battle when the game was up for grabs, with Zorko, Hugh McCluggage and Jarryd Lyons all getting plenty of first quarter disposals.
But it was Mitch Robinson who stole the show.
'Robbo' kicked a career-high four goals to go along with 30 disposals as he fearlessly threw his body around with neither teammates or opponents safe from his vigour.
Zorko finished with 35 disposals to go along with two goals, Jarryd Lyons ticked along with 25 and Brisbane had too many weapons, finishing with 13 goalkickers.
After the early onslaught, the Giants did battle hard.
Stand-in skipper Josh Kelly continued a fine season, kicking two second quarter goals to stem the bleeding, but the visitors struggled when they went forward.
Callan Ward (32 disposals and two goals), Jacob Hopper (31 disposals and a goal) and Tim Taranto (36 disposals) all had plenty of the ball.
Robbo turning back the clock
It didn't seem that long ago Mitch Robinson was fighting for his spot in Brisbane's team – not any more. The hard-as-nails wingman had a slow start to the season, gathering 10 and 12 disposals in the opening fortnight, but like so many of his teammates has got better and better as the weeks have worn on. Robinson was spectacular against the Giants, crashing packs, flying for marks and kicking a career-high four goals. He flew headlong into Marcus Adams during a marking contest, barrelled into Jaxon Prior for a ground ball and brought the Gabba down with a 52m bomb after the three-quarter time siren.
Giants' backline punches above its weight
Aside from Brisbane's early haymakers, the undersized, unheralded GWS backline can be proud of itself. Missing tall timber Sam Taylor (ankle), Phil Davis (calf) and Lachie Keeffe (knee), they held up well. Jack Buckley was strong on Joe Daniher, Matt Buntine did well against Dan McStay after a slow start, and Nick Haynes fought hard against Eric Hipwood. Sam Reid had the unenviable task of chasing Charlie Cameron. Brisbane kicked 19 goals, but it wasn't from a loss of one-on-one battles inside their defensive 50.
Something new from The Magician
Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko has been in brilliant form the past six weeks and pulled something new from his bag of tricks in the opening quarter. After a couple of Giants collided in a marking contest 30m from goal, Zorko swooped, toeing the ball off the ground, and then watched it tumble end over end straight through the posts. Even the mercurial midfielder couldn't believe his luck.
BRISBANE 6.4 10.7 14.10 19.15 (129)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.0 4.1 5.3 10.5 (65)
Brisbane: Robinson 4, McStay 2, McCarthy 2, Zorko 2, Bailey, Cameron, Coleman, Daniher, Hipwood, McInerney, McCluggage, Prior, Rich
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly 2, Ward 2, Hill 2, Sproule, Flynn, Finlayson, Hopper
Brisbane: Robinson, Zorko, Adams, Mathieson, Lyons, Andrews, McInerney
Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Hopper, Taranto, Kelly, Buckley
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Brisbane: Tom Berry (unused)
Greater Western Sydney: Callum Brown (unused)
Crowd: 22,038 at the Gabba