BRISBANE has locked up at least two Gabba finals with a grinding 32-point win over Sydney in wet conditions at Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns on Sunday night.
SWANS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
The 11.7 (73) to 6.5 (41) victory was the Lions' sixth in succession and ensures they will finish either first or second on the ladder ahead of a final round date with Carlton.
Brisbane was in control for much of the night, but Sydney gave them an almighty scare by kicking the first two goals of the final term to reduce the margin to just two points.
But from there Brisbane showed why it was a premiership favourite.
With the game on the line the Lions won three successive centre clearances that led to goals for Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Keidean Coleman and Charlie Cameron.
They kicked six goals to three in the final term to run away with victory.
With Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale (15 disposals) kept quiet by tagger Ryan Clarke, Jarryd Lyons (20 touches and a goal) assumed the role as Brisbane's chief midfielder.
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Daniel Rich gathered 23 disposals, while Cameron looked lively with two goals and Dan McStay was the most dangerous tall forward on the ground with14 touches, a goal, and an assist.
Sydney was valiant all night, edging Brisbane for disposals, clearances and contested possessions, but just unable to exert enough influence on the scoreboard before the final term.
Skipper Luke Parker led from the front with a game-high 33 disposals.
Kiddy kicks his first
The biggest celebration in Brisbane's win undoubtedly came early in the fourth quarter when Keidean 'Kiddy' Coleman kicked the first goal of his career. After missing the chance to do so against Gold Coast on Wednesday night when he unselfishly handballed to an unsuspecting Dan McStay, Coleman made no such mistake against the Swans. Receiving the ball deep in the left forward pocket, the Lions Academy product spied an opening and darted towards goal, took a bounce, stepped Luke Parker and converted from close range. His teammates flocked for everyone to congratulate him.
The enigma of Nick Blakey
Just when it looked like Nick Blakey was having a quiet night, he almost flipped the whole game in the final quarter. Thrown into the midfield in recent weeks, Blakey has shown promising signs against both Melbourne and Carlton. Against the deep and talented Brisbane midfield he was restricted to just seven touches through three quarters – and then things turned. Blakey gifted goals to both Will Hayward and Luke Parker with brilliant passes to drag the deficit back to just two points. He finished with seven disposals in the fourth quarter, 14 overall, to again give everyone a glimpse into his enormous potential.
Aliir v Oscar – in a footrace
It wasn't quite Cyril Rioli v Lewis Jetta in the 2012 Grand Final, but the sight of seeing ruckmen Aliir Aliir and Oscar McInerney leg it at top speed down the wing was something to behold. Both men played their hearts out all night and when Aliir got the ball early in the final quarter, he had open grass ahead of him. McInerney chased and chased – and chased, and eventually got a hand to the back of his opponent's jumper just as Aliir handballed. Sydney ended up with a goal but not through lack of perseverance from the Lions' ruckman.
SYDNEY 2.0 2.0 3.1 6.5 (41)
BRISBANE 1.1 3.3 5.4 11.7 (73)
Sydney: Hayward 2, Papley 2, Parker 2
Brisbane: Bailey 2, Cameron 2, Hipwood 2, Coleman, Ellis-Yolmen, Lyons, McStay, Zorko
Sydney: Parker, Lloyd, McInerney, Mills, Clarke, Cunningham
Brisbane: Lyons, Rich, McStay, Ellis-Yolmen, McInerney, Robinson
Sydney: Taylor (foot)