ANY LINGERING doubts about Brisbane's premiership credentials were washed away with a bold, frantic four-quarter demolition of Geelong at the Gabba on Thursday night.
At the same ground they were buried by the Cats in last year's preliminary final, the Lions completely turned the tables with a 44-point triumph that puts them in great position for a top-four finish.
Joe Daniher kicked four goals and Charlie Cameron three in the 13.16 (94) to 7.8 (50) triumph as Brisbane's slick ball movement gave the usually stingy Geelong defence headaches all night.
LIONS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
The Lions kicked the first five goals of the game, and despite a brief Cats fightback in the second quarter, were never troubled.
It's just the second time in the past 14 matches between the clubs Brisbane has come out on top.
Daniel Rich (25 disposals, 641m gained) was the early architect, pulling the trigger on a number of aggressive kicks into the corridor as the home team regularly swept the ball from one end of the ground to the other.
Captain Dayne Zorko was magnificent, setting a defensive tone with 12 tackles that his teammates followed. He was also influential in attack, gathering 24 disposals and using his penetrating kicking to get the ball deep inside 50.
The result was plenty of space for Brisbane's dangerous forwards.
It was a different story at the other end of the ground, with Geelong's potent triumvirate of Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan kept to just two final quarter goals between them.
Marcus Adams was particularly impressive in his 50th game, not only nullifying Hawkins but racking up a game-high 10 intercepts.
Cam Guthrie (34 disposals) was Geelong's best, while skipper Joel Selwood was kept to just 13 touches, followed by young Lion Deven Robertson.
Brisbane was on the job from the opening minute, picking apart Geelong's defence and kicking four unanswered goals in the first term.
Former Cat Lincoln McCarthy had two, the first following a sizzling Dan McStay pass and the second coming after sublime transition that involved perfect kicks from Rich and Zorko.
The second quarter started similarly as Cameron kicked a second goal on Tom Stewart, but the Cats battled back as they got on top around the contest.
Zach Tuohy, Patrick Dangerfield and Isaac Smith kicked goals within the space of four minutes to halve the lead to 18 points.
Tempers began to fray with an incredible 37 free kicks whistled in the first half, but Daniher steadied the ship for the Lions after the siren, threading the needle with an exquisite set shot from close to the left boundary line.
Lachie back from the brink
Midway through the first quarter it looked like Brisbane's Brownlow medallist was done for the night. Neale was tackled by Jeremy Cameron and put his right arm out to brace for contact, but the result was not what he hoped for. The champion midfielder got up clutching his right shoulder, which appeared to have popped out. He went straight to the rooms but returned just minutes later. Clearly hampered, Neale got better as the night went on, finishing with 24 disposals despite being tagged by Mark O'Connor again.
Charlie takes the chocolates in pivotal battle
Having another incredible season, two-time All Australian Tom Stewart was the focus of much of the build-up ahead of his 100th game. Following his 10 intercept marks against the Western Bulldogs last week, Stewart's job against the Lions was to tame Charlie Cameron. It didn't quite go according to plan for the Cats defender with Cameron beating him on the lead and when the ball hit the ground. The Lions livewire finished with 3.3, eventually having Jed Bews moved over to take the job from Stewart.
Three-headed monster tamed
During its eight previous matches together Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan had put opponents to the sword, combining for 64 goals. Against the Lions though they barely got near it. Marcus Adams took Hawkins, Harris Andrews took Cameron and Brandon Starcevich blanketed Rohan. The Geelong trio combined for just two final quarter goals as Brisbane defended Geelong's 50 inside 50s superbly.
BRISBANE 4.7 8.9 11.13 13.16 (94)
GEELONG 0.1 3.5 5.6 7.8 (50)
Brisbane: Daniher 4, Cameron 3, Hipwood 2, McCarthy 2, Coleman, Lyons
Geelong: Smith 2, Tuohy 2, Hawkins, Rohan, Dangerfield
Brisbane: Cameron, Rich, Zorko, Adams, Daniher, Andrews, Starcevich, McInerney
Geelong: Dangerfield, Guthrie, Tuohy, Smith
Brisbane: Birchall (ill) replaced in selected side by Payne; Neale (shoulder)
Brisbane: Rhys Mathieson (unused)
Geelong: Quinton Narkle (unused)
Crowd: 29,024 at the Gabba