THE WHEELS wobbled badly but Brisbane steamrolled its way back into form with a second-half demolition of Gold Coast at the Gabba on Saturday, winning by 49 points.
Following successive losses to St Kilda and Richmond, the Lions were in serious danger of losing a third straight at half-time when they trailed by 27 points.
LIONS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
However, a landslide of territory and possession eventually won the day, as Brisbane kicked 13 second-half goals to one to run out 17.18 (120) to 10.11 (71) winners.
Captain Dayne Zorko put an exclamation point on the victory with a torpedo from 55m after the final siren.
Brisbane's sixth straight QClash win came on the back of Oscar McInerney domination in the ruck, Jarryd Lyons and Hugh McCluggage lifting in the midfield and Linc McCarthy starring with four goals in the forward line.
Lyons won the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best player afield for the second time this year, finishing with 33 disposals, 18 of them contested.
It was a total contrast of two halves as the Suns pressured the Lions into errors in the first two quarters and moved the ball swiftly to trouble Brisbane’s defence and generate a big lead.
The Lions had 34 inside 50s before half-time but butchered their chances in front of goal, with Joe Daniher and Linc McCarthy missing shots they'd usually gobble up.
However, after the main break everything changed.
Brisbane gained ascendency around the stoppages, continued to hammer the ball inside 50 and began hitting targets like McCarthy, Charlie Cameron (three goals) and Daniher (three goals).
The Lions’ defence leaked poorly in the first-half, conceding 15 scoring shots from 22 inside 50s.
Harris Andrews, Grant Birchall and Brandon Starcevich (who was brilliant in blanketing Izak Rankine) all gave away free kicks that led directly to goals.
Touk Miller topped 30 disposals for a 12th straight game, while Brayden Fiorini was tireless for all four quarters, finishing with 41 touches.
Daniher's freaky double
It was a strange old day for Joe Daniher – missing sitters and kicking freakish goals. In the first half the Lions' tall forward hammered one into the post from 20m out directly in front, then hit the woodwork again on the run from even closer. Either side of that though, he kicked two memorable goals. The first came in the opening quarter when he wrestled with Sam Collins before kicking it over his head, and then in the third term Daniher somehow kicked the ball from mid-air – at chest height – through for his second.
McInerney a new man
After having his colours badly lowered by Toby Nankervis last week, Oscar McInerney was a new man against the Suns. Pitted against undersized Chris Burgess, The Big O was a man on a mission and helped the Lions turn the tide in the second half. Rather than tapping the ball from centre bounces and stoppages around the ground, McInerney simply started grabbing the ball with two hands and kicking it forward. He then added in some deft taps to midfielders. The big ruckman finished with 18 disposals (16 contested), 11 clearances and 40 hit-outs.
Rankine needs to lift
Exciting Gold Coast small forward Izak Rankine is having a difficult second season and it got no easier with Brandon Starcevich manning him on Saturday. Rankine finished with just seven disposals and one score involvement and was barely sighted most of the day. His only positive involvement came during the second quarter when he sucked Starcevich in to giving away a free kick that went downfield for a Ben Ainsworth goal.
BRISBANE 2.4 4.9 9.14 17.18 (120)
GOLD COAST 3.3 9.6 9.8 10.11 (71)
Brisbane: McCarthy 4, Cameron 3, Daniher 3, Ah Chee 2, Robinson 2, McStay, Neale, Zorko
Gold Coast: King 3, Corbett 3, Ainsworth, Rowell, Sexton, Sharp
Brisbane: McInerney, Lyons, McCarthy, McCluggage, Starcevich, Andrews, Robinson
Gold Coast: Fiorini, Miller, Sharp, Lukosius, Ainsworth, Flanders
Gold Coast: Markov (hamstring)
Brisbane: Nakia Cockatoo (unused)
Gold Coast: Will Brodie (replaced Markov)
Crowd: 16,660 at the Gabba