BRISBANE started like an old draught horse but finished like a wild brumby to storm past Port Adelaide and win by 11 points at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Trailing by 24 points late in the third term, and with almost no rhythm to their game, the Lions turned it on in the last quarter, kicking five goals to one to run out 11.14 (80) to 10.9 (69) winners.
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Joe Daniher kicked two of his four goals, Linc McCarthy pounced on an Aliir Aliir mistake to kick another before Oscar McInerney took a towering pack mark to give the home team a lead they would not relinquish.
The win could have come at a cost though with skipper Dayne Zorko leaving the field in the third quarter with a lower leg injury.
Port had a rough night on the injury front as well with Xavier Duursma (collarbone) and Trent McKenzie (knee) failing to see the game out.
Brisbane struggled to find any flow for most of the night, but when they needed a lift, Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale provided, finishing with 31 disposals and seven clearances.
Zac Bailey became more prominent, Daniher was a handful and, playing his first senior game in 18 months, Noah Answerth was crucial in the final term, winning a heap of one-on-one contests.
Marcus Adams' contribution should not be left out either, keeping Port's forward forays at bay before his midfield got on top.
Port had its chances to put the game away in the third quarter and can thank Dan Houston's career-best 36 disposals and two goals for much of its ascendency.
His thumping goal from outside 50 late in the match gave them some hope.
Travis Boak was fantastic, as was Karl Amon, while Ryan Burton had the better of Charlie Cameron.
The first half resembled a couple of prized fighters shadowing each other, but too nervous to throw a jab.
The ball movement from both teams was conservative, and while the pressure was intense, the skills were below their usual high level.
Port led by four points at half-time and 15 at three-quarter time, but was unable to run the game out.
Robinson reported, Duursma injured
Port Adelaide lost Xavier Duursma in the first quarter after the classy wingman injured his collarbone in a collision with Lion Mitch Robinson. With the ball in dispute in Brisbane's forward 50, Duursma gathered and was met a split-second later by Robinson's shoulder, the veteran Lion having braced for the imminent contact. Robinson was reported and Duursma left the field clutching his collarbone, replaced by substitute Steven Motlop.
Oh no, Joe!
When Joe Daniher is around, things happen, and right on the stroke of half-time Brisbane's full forward gave us a bit of everything in five crazy seconds. With the ball kicked long to the top of the Lions' goalsquare, Daniher rose high to take a spectacular grab 15m from goal. As he rose to his feet, he fed a quick handpass to Nakia Cockatoo, only for the half-time siren to sound as Cockatoo slammed it through. Alas, it was too late.
Zorko's wild night
After having a severely disrupted pre-season following a small procedure on his Achilles, Brisbane skipper Dayne Zorko didn't see the night out. Starting at half-back, he looked more than a little rusty in the first half, turning the ball over a couple of times and giving away a 50m penalty that led to a Karl Amon goal. Zorko did provide some spark though, and just as he was moved into the front half, limped off before the final change.
BRISBANE 2.2 4.6 6.10 11.14 (80)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.1 5.4 9.7 10.9 (69)
Brisbane: Daniher 4, Fort 2, McCarthy 2, Bailey, Cameron, McInerney
Port Adelaide: Houston 2, Amon, Boak, Drew, Georgiades, Marshall, Motlop, Powell-Pepper, Rozee
Brisbane: Neale, Adams, Bailey, Daniher, McCarthy, Answerth, Berry
Port Adelaide: Houston, Amon, Boak, Burton, Butters, Wines
Brisbane: Zorko (foot)
Port Adelaide: Duursma (collarbone), McKenzie (knee)
Brisbane: Harry Sharp (replaced Dayne Zorko)
Port Adelaide: Steven Motlop (replaced Xavier Duursma)
Crowd: 25,100 at the Gabba