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Lions win through to NAB Cup final

Highlights: Pies v Lions Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions clash in round three of the 2013 NAB Cup
Elliot Yeo of the Lions marks ahead of Ben Sinclair of the Magpies during the 2013 NAB Cup round 03 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Young Lion Elliot Yeo marks ahead of Magpie Ben Sinclair
THE MARKETING types won't be happy, but the Brisbane Lions won't give a rat's tossbag, as Malcolm Blight once famously said.

They're into their first NAB Cup Grand Final since 2007 following a 34-point win over Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

The Lions will face Carlton - who beat them by 25 points in the pre-season decider six years ago - at Etihad Stadium on Friday night in a clash that won't be quite the box office draw that an early meeting between Carlton coach Mick Malthouse and his former charges at Collingwood would have been.

For that, we will have to wait as scheduled for the MCG in round two.

But the Lions won't care. They have been the only unbeaten side through the pre-season and they put this game away with an imposing second half that they started a point in arrears.

"It signifies a successful end to the pre-season," Lions coach Michael Voss said. 

"We haven’t gone ahead and won it by any stretch but it’s a reward at the end of a pre-season they've worked hard for." 

Click here for all the best match pics

On a steamy night with the Etihad roof open, both sides took advantage of the ability to rotate as often as they could. The Pies made 168 changes off the bench, while the Lions had 143.

The Lions' forward pressure was superb and after some early struggles, they eventually found several avenues to goal. Small forward Rohan Bewick kicked four, while Aaron Cornelius followed last week's five-goal haul with another three.

Former Melbourne forward Stefan Martin also presented well and kicked a goal.

He and Cornelius are shaping as key forward targets for the Lions this year alongside co-captain Jonathan Brown, who played his first game for the season, and even though he kicked a goal, will clearly be better for the run.

The Lions' midfield run was generated by Daniel Rich, who was superb after quarter-time, Jed Adcock, Tom Rockliff and Pearce Hanley.

Collingwood's best were Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom, while youngsters Ben Kennedy, Kyle Martin and Paul Seedsman showed a bit.

But the Magpies were always up against it, and entered the match without Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Travis Cloke, Luke Ball, Dale Thomas, Ben Reid, Alex Fasolo, Alan Toovey, Andrew Krakouer and Alan Didak.

And for most of the night it showed.

What they said
"The thing we did after half-time was to get some composure back with our ball use and some control as well and we were able to dominate the second half." - Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss.
"Brisbane stabilized things in the second half. They hunted the ball well, their defensive structures held up well and they started to hit the scoreboard, just based on weight of numbers going forward. It was too much for our squad to handle." - Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.
What it means
The Lions are 0-2 in pre-season deciders, but will enter Friday night's clash as the form team of the summer. But they travel again - much to their chagrin - and with a day less than Carlton to prepare. 

Collingwood is just happy to get back to 'normal' footy (three interchanges, one sub and unlimited rotations). The Pies will take a strong squad to Geelong for the practice game at a venue they last played a home and away game at in 1999.
AFL Fantasy snapshot
A few of note for the Lions. Four goals to Rohan Bewick earned him 99 points, while Daniel Rich's 25 disposals earned him 89 points. He will be a midfield key for the Lions this year and has been earmarked as one of their key link men. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.

COLLINGWOOD        0.2.4    0.4.8    0.6.10     0.7.12 (54)                  
BRISBANE LIONS    0.2.3   0.4.7     0.9.12    0.12.16 (88)          

Brisbane Lions: Nil

Beams 2, Lynch 2, Mooney, Goldsack, Kennedy
Brisbane Lions: Bewick 4, Cornelius 3, Hanley, Rich, Martin, Green, Brown

Collingwood: Beams, Sidebottom, Kennedy, Seedman
Brisbane Lions: Rich, Green, Patfull, Cornelius, Bewick, Hanley

Brisbane Lions:Nil
Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Meredith, Burgess

Official crowd: 12,093 at Etihad Stadium