BRISBANE'S 28-point AAMI Community Series win over Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium was soured by a suspected ACL injury to young star Cam Rayner.
The former No.1 draft pick crumpled to the ground midway through the second quarter clutching his knee and will get scans on Tuesday to confirm the damage.
SUNS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
With the 21-year-old watching from the boundary line, Brisbane reversed a poor first half to over-run the Suns 18.9 (117) to 13.11 (89).
Gold Coast led by 29 points late in the first half, but Brisbane came out a completely different outfit in the third quarter, kicking 7.8 to 0.2 from a whopping 25-5 inside 50 count.
At one stage the Lions kicked 11 successive goals.
Lachie Neale (25 disposals, 13 in the third) and Jarryd Lyons (22) changed the momentum around the stoppages, and Charlie Cameron (four goals) and Joe Daniher (three) capitalised on the extra opportunities.
Gold Coast's Club Champion from last year, Sam Collins, played a strong first half on his comeback from a foot injury, but when the reliable fullback was rested after the main break, the overwhelmed backline had little chance.
Jarrod Berry (28), Daniel Rich (20) and Zac Bailey (17 and two goals) were all strong contributors for the victors.
Gold Coast looked a completely different outfit in the first half from the one beaten by 47 points by the same opponent just nine days prior.
They hunted in packs and moved the ball with speed and should have had a bigger lead at the main break.
Wil Powell was fantastic in defence, Lachie Weller (29 and one goal) was dynamic around the ball and Matt Rowell (20 and seven clearances) was solid.
With his midfield being outplayed in the first half, there was precious few chances for Joe Daniher to shine. However, when the opportunities increased in the second half – and Sam Collins went to the bench for a rest – he flourished and finished with three goals to complete a near-perfect pre-season. Young draftee Harry Sharp was super impressive in his two quarters of action, kicking a goal from his 10 touches and showing he's up to the level with hard running and good composure. Richmond recruit Oleg Markov had a strong outing for the Suns, gathering 21 disposals and offering plenty of run from the wing and half-back.
Round one chance
Tall forward Tom Fullarton has nailed down a spot in Brisbane's team after getting his chance following the injury to Dan McStay. Fullarton kicked two goals and played a nice foil alongside Daniher and Eric Hipwood. Mitch Robinson should have locked up his place after a disrupted pre-season, while Ely Smith, who played in the VFL, would be a chance to replace injured Cam Rayner. For the Suns, Alex Sexton ensured his name would be read out for the opening round against West Coast after being dropped twice last year. Sexton was at his goal-poaching best, kicking six majors from 14 disposals. Will Brodie and Darcy Macpherson also did enough to ensure their spots.
Rayner's injury was the huge news and adds to some concerns for the Lions ahead of round one. Dan McStay (knee) could miss up to six weeks, while reliable defender Darcy Gardiner (knee) has also been ruled out of the season opener against Sydney. The Suns had a clean slate and should regain young whiz-kid Izak Rankine for its season opener after his slightly tweaked an ankle last week.
The most popular player in AFL Fantasy Classic, Matt Rowell (MID, $574,000), scored 59 from 70 per cent time on ground. Rowell's 54 per cent of owners may think twice about starting the former No. 1 Draft pick as he managed just one mark and two tackles, stats he would generally have several of in a game. Joe Daniher (FWD, $432,000) kicked three goals to score 71 points which would see him increase his price significantly if his output is similar in the opening rounds.
GOLD COAST 3.3 8.5 8.7 13.11 (89)
BRISBANE 3.0 5.0 12.8 18.9 (117)
Brisbane: Cameron 4, Daniher 3, Bailey 2, Fullarton 2, Zorko 2, Berry, Hipwood, McCarthy, Robinson, Sharp
Gold Coast: Sexton 6, Day 3, King 2, Brodie, Weller
Brisbane: Neale, Zorko, Bailey, Berry, Rich, Cameron
Gold Coast: Weller, Sexton, Powell, Miller, Ellis
Brisbane: Rayner (knee)
Gold Coast: Nil
Crowd: 1962 at Metricon Stadium