Josh Dunkley celebrates during the round 17 match between Brisbane and Adelaide at the Gabba, July 7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

LACHIE Neale ran amok early, Josh Dunkley ground away all day, and Brisbane held off a late Adelaide charge to win its fifth straight game by 11 points at the Gabba on Sunday.

Neale kicked three goals from 22 disposals in the first half to lay the foundation for his team's 14.13 (97) to 13.8 (86) victory.

LIONS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

He wasn't the only Lions midfielder to have a major influence on the result, with Dunkley (35 disposals, seven clearances and a goal) bobbing up everywhere around the contest, running defensively and getting involved offensively.

With just one loss from its past nine games Brisbane has moved into seventh place on the ladder, just a win from third, ahead of a trip to Perth to face West Coast next Sunday.


Neale finished with game highs in disposals (36), contested possessions (18) and clearances (10) to go along with his goalkicking exploits as the Lions held off a persistent Adelaide that could never really be shook.

Cam Rayner kicked three goals, Charlie Cameron overcame an injury scare late in the third quarter to kick two, while Darcy Wilmot was important in defence late in the match.


Brisbane kept Adelaide at arm's length for most of the day as the lead fluctuated between two and four goals, but back-to-back goals from Darcy Fogarty with four minutes remaining set up a grandstand finish.

Like they've done in recent contests at the Gabba, the Lions held on, icing the game in the dying minutes, as opposed to winning it like they did against Melbourne nine days earlier.

With Ben Keays kicking four goals, Rory Laird gathering 27 disposals and Taylor Walker and Izak Rankine looking dangerous in attack, the Crows always threatened.


Brisbane looked like blowing the game open early with the opening three goals, two coming courtesy of Rayner who played as a pseudo third tall forward.

But with some ascendency around the stoppages, Adelaide quickly got back into the contest.


Keays kicked two of his three first-half goals in quick succession, including a brilliant checkside from the left forward pocket.

However, Neale was already running riot, with his three goals in the opening half from 22 disposals ensuring the home team had a 14-point advantage at the main break.


Crowd villain Izak Rankine, who was involved in an early incident that saw Brandon Starcevich leaving the game after failing a Head Injury Assessment, threaded a goal from the boundary line just before the half to keep the visitors in striking range.

The Lions are back in the hunt
Seven wins and a draw from their past nine matches has the Lions well and truly back in premiership contention. They may just be sitting seventh on the ladder, but trailing third-placed Fremantle by just one win, are poised to make a top-four surge. Despite Joe Daniher going goalless they still found plenty of avenues to goal, continuing the high-powered scoring that has punctuated their post-bye surge. Next up is West Coast in Perth, followed by Sydney at the Gabba and Gold Coast at People First Stadium. 


Is Izak Rankine in trouble?
Izak Rankine is sure to come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer following a first-quarter incident with Brandon Starcevich. As Rankine darted forward ahead of the play as a stoppage was being set on the wing, Starcevich chased while watching the play. In the meantime, Rankine had stopped in his tracks, just in time for the Lions defender to run straight into the Crow's braced shoulder, well off the ball. Both left the field and after Starcevich failed a Head Injury Assessment, he was replaced by substitute Logan Morris.


A career night for Keays
Playing against your old club always means a little something more, and Ben Keays had a game to remember. In his seventh meeting with the club he played 30 matches for between 2016 and 2019, the midfielder-turn-half-forward kicked a career-high four goals to keep the Crows in the contest. He kicked two in the first term, one in the second and one in the third, cleverly finding space between Adelaide's tall forwards.

Ben Keays celebrates during the round 17 match between Brisbane and Adelaide at the Gabba, July 7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE     4.2      8.6      12.7    14.13 (97)
ADELAIDE     2.2      6.3      9.5      13.8 (86)

Brisbane: Neale 3, Rayner 3, Cameron 2, Morris, Lohmann, Hipwood, Dunkley, Ashcroft, Ah Chee
Adelaide: Keays 4, Walker 2, Rankine 2, Himmelberg 2, Fogarty 2, Soligo

Brisbane: Neale, Dunkley, McInerney, Wilmot, Ashcroft
Adelaide: Laird, Keane, Keays, Walker, Sholl, Rankine

Brisbane: Starcevich (concussion)
Adelaide: Nil

Brisbane: Logan Morris (replaced Starcevich during the second quarter)
Adelaide: Zac Taylor (replaced Mitch Hinge at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 30,183 at the Gabba