BRISBANE'S promising start to 2018 has come to a grinding halt after it kicked just two goals in a horror 93-point loss to a rampant Richmond at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
With Dustin Martin kicking a career-best six goals, the Tigers prevailed 16.14 (110) to 2.5 (17), but the game was all over at half-time, when the home team led by 54 points, having kept the winless Lions goalless in the process.
TIGERS TAME LIONS: Full match coverage and stats
Brisbane’s score equalled the record lowest by the Brisbane Bears, who kicked 2.5 (17) against Hawthorn in 1988. And it was the first time since round six of 1962 that a team was held to fewer than 20 points on the MCG. The unfortunate team on that occasion was South Melbourne.
The Tigers were ruthless and it wasn't until the 27-minute mark of the third term that the Lions kicked their first goal of the game when Dayne Zorko crumbed the pack and snapped truly.
THIS KID CAN PLAY: Five talking points
But the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs on Saturday were illustrated a few minutes before when the Lions had the two-on-one edge 20m from goal, but desperate Tigers defender Dylan Grimes effected a spoil and negated the contest, much to the delight of the yellow-and-black clad fans at the Punt Road end.
Brisbane came into the game having been super-competitive in three narrow losses to open the season against St Kilda, Melbourne and Port Adelaide, but this was the reality check to remind coach Chris Fagan and his men of the mountain of work ahead of them to climb up the ladder.
Despite the pre-game focus on winning contested footy, they were thrashed in that area in the first half of the game, down by 20. With 29 inside 50s to 17, the Tiger forwards were just queueing up to have shots on goal.
WATCH: Jumping Jack's hanger
And the Lions couldn’t even blame the weather. Torrential rain fell on the MCG in the hours before the game but cleared up before the opening bounce. By the time the game started, the ground was bathed in sunshine.
It even resembled September and the Tigers wound the clock back to last year's finals, with their pressure game forcing the Lions into repeated disposal errors. Six of Richmond’s first seven goals came from Brisbane turnovers, but if the Lions' poor care of the footy was one issue, their lack of pressure was another and by three-quarter time, 12 of their players had laid one tackle or less for the afternoon.
The lack of intensity around the footy allowed the Tigers the luxury of playing Martin primarily out of the goalsquare. Jason Castagna kicked three for the Tigers as did Jacob Townsend, while Trent Cotchin (26), Reece Conca (26) and Kane Lambert (26) won plenty of the ball. But to be truthful, this match resembled a training drill for most of the afternoon.
WATCH: Lambert finishes the Tiger train
"If you’d said to me before the game we would win by 93 points, you’d be really happy with it," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said. "I thought the guys showed really good intent early, set the standard and the way we wanted to play with their contested ball and pressure around the contest. "We walk away really happy with the four points, acknowledge Brisbane probably weren’t at their best today, but we have a really good challenge next week against a good footy club in Melbourne."
The Lions had barely a winner. Youngsters Alex Witherden, Jarrod Berry and Cameron Rayner kept presenting, while Luke Hodge tried to give some drive and direction from defence. But it was a frustrating for the former Hawks captain. At one stage in the third quarter he was penalised for a deliberate out of bounds just in front of the interchange bench. Hodge was then rotated off the ground and after directing some choice words towards the umpires, had to be shepherded back to the Lions bench by emergency umpire Justin Schmitt.
"We have been really, really competitive for the last three weeks but for some reason the bubble burst today," Fagan said. "I thought we got a lesson from Richmond with contested ball and intensity."
WATCH: Zorko finally breaks the drought
Both teams seemed to come out of the game with any injury concerns.
The Tigers ‘visit’ Melbourne on Anzac Day eve at the MCG in what is the AFL’s new blockbuster. With the Commonwealth Games over, the public buses are running in Brisbane once more so people can get to the Gabba to see the Lions host a QClash against Gold Coast in a twilight game next Sunday.
WATCH: Dusty goes bang
Brisbane's horror day
- 2.5 (17) was the Brisbane Lions' lowest ever score (it equals the Bears' lowest score of 2.5 (17) in round 12, 1988. Fitzroy's lowest score was 1.0 (6) in 1953).
- Richmond's 93-point win was its biggest win at the MCG since round 21, 1996 when it beat Fitzroy by 151 points.
- 2.5 (17) is the lowest score by any team at the MCG since South Melbourne kicked 1.11 (17) in round six, 1962.
- It's also the lowest score in general since 1.7 (13) by Fremantle in round 15, 2009.
WATCH: Is Graham in trouble for this?
RICHMOND 5.5 8.10 11.12 16.14 (110)
BRISBANE 0.2 0.4 1.4 2.5 (17)
Richmond: Martin 6, Castagna 3, Townsend 3, Lambert 2, Riewoldt, Caddy
Brisbane: Zorko, Rayner
Richmond: Cotchin, Lambert, Rance, D. Martin, Conca, Grigg, Riewoldt
Brisbane: Zorko, Rayner, Robinson, S. Martin, Witherden
Reports: Jack Graham (Richmond) for rough conduct against Dayne Zorko in the third quarter
Umpires: Meredith, Harris, Wallace
Official crowd: 32,870 at the MCG