1. The Schache Shield
Long before this match, young Victorian Josh Schache has probably been preparing for a move up north. The only question remaining was whether he'd call Broadbeach or Brisbane home. The answer looks to have come with Gold Coast's 14-point win. His late father Laurence was a former leading goalkicker for the Brisbane Bears, and unless there's a sharp change in form young Josh will find himself a focal point for the Lions from next season. The Victorian forward's appetite for a move to the Sunshine State could hardly have been wetted during a miserable first half where turnovers and sideways ball movement dominated proceedings. But things improved after half-time, when the game opened up after both teams realised kicking towards their goals – and their key forwards – worked a hell of a lot better.
2. Big Tom's run of form continues
Five goals in a strong display was enough for Tom Lynch to claim the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best afield, coming a week after his last gasp goal to get two points for the Suns in a draw against West Coast. Lynch started the night alongside round 18 Rising Star Harris Andrews and the two young keys fought an entertaining battle throughout the first half. Lynch got going after half-time, becoming the most dominant forward on the ground and kicking three goals as the Suns surged home. Teammate Aaron Hall was in medal contention all night. Hall has benefitted greatly from Gold Coast's midfield injury crisis, becoming a bona fide ball-winner in an important season. His outing against the Lions was his best on paper in his 57-game career, Hall finishing the Suns' leading possession winner with 28, which included eight inside 50s, four rebound 50s and a goal.
Marcus Ashcroft Medal Full Voting
8 – 3,3,2 Tom Lynch (Gold Coast SUNS)
6 – 3,2,1 Aaron Hall (Gold Coast SUNS)
3 – 2,1 Pearce Hanley (Brisbane Lions)
1 – 1 Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions)
3. Footy's lab rats
Alongside the seemingly somewhat manufactured talk of niggle between the two teams in the lead-up to the 10th QClash, the other main talking point was the AFL's decision to experiment with four umpires in this game. The change was most notable at the opening bounce, where a second umpire stood inside the centre square to watch for infringements. But from there, like in any good game, the men in green went largely unnoticed, paying 46 frees for the evening in a reasoned display despite the somewhat scrappy game for much of the night.
4. A long wait
It was a week of welcome returns in the footy world, headlined by Adam Goodes running out with the Swans against the Cats, Ben Reid's four-goal showing helping the Pies to a win against arch-rival Carlton and the midweek training run by former Melbourne captain Jack Trengove ending a long injury layoff. And then there was Luke McGuane, the Tiger turned Lion who returned for his first AFL game since round seven, 2014 – a 462-day break by our calculations. Five operations kept him busy during the layoff, the most recent just six weeks ago. Starting in a forward pocket, McGuane found plenty of ball early but just couldn't make the most of a couple of half-chances. Showing all of the resilience of a man who knows how to fight long battles, McGuane kept at it, finally kicking his first goal in over two seasons with 70 seconds to go in the third quarter. He provided a spark throughout the night and his three goals kept the Lions hopeful throughout the second half.
Lions players get around Luke McGuane after a goal to welcome him back to the team. Picture: AFL Media
5. How much is Charlie Dixon worth?
If you were asking that question at half-time, with Dixon's stats sheet showing three disposals, two marks and no goals, the answer would have been somewhere around the average wage mark. Dixon's first possession didn't come until nine minutes into the second quarter – an errant kick towards Tom Lynch which missed the target and rolled out of bounds. By game's end, however, Dixon's future earnings had leapt with every touch and show of strength that came in an exciting second half. Three clubs appear in the race for the 24-year-old's services with news Port Adelaide has joined the Suns and Lions in the chase for Charlie. If Dixon can consistently play the way he did in the second-half, talk of $750,000-plus a season won't seem as crazy as it sounds.