JUST when opposition teams thought Brisbane was already unstoppable during the middle of its three-peat of premierships, along came Des Headland.

Midway through 2002 as the Lions jockeyed for top spot with Port Adelaide, 21-year-old Headland produced a six-game burst that vaulted him into the competition's elite midfielders.

From round 13 to 18 he was unstoppable.

04:01 Mins
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Headland lives up to No.1 billing in blistering burst of form, 2002

Des Headland polls Brownlow votes in six consecutive games, including a six-goal performance against Carlton

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Headland went from being on the fringe of the star-studded premiers' team to unleashing all the pace, skill and class that prompted Brisbane to take him with the No.1 pick in the 1998 NAB AFL Draft.

With 'Fab Four' member Nigel Lappin sidelined through injury, Headland took his chance to flourish with more time on-ball.

He started with a dazzling six-goal haul against Carlton in a round 13 win and the following week backed it up with five goals and 24 disposals in a loss to Melbourne at the Gabba.

Playing alongside Michael Voss, Simon Black and Jason Akermanis, if the West Australian was previously flying under the radar, he wasn't any more.

Headland did not slow down.

Brisbane's Des Headland in action during round 12, 2002. Picture: AFL Photos

The goalkicking midfielder booted 19.12 through those six rounds, averaging 23 disposals and chalking up 13 Brownlow Medal votes.

He polled 16 votes for the year to finish equal sixth – alongside Andrew McLeod, Ben Cousins and Luke Darcy – behind teammate Black.

Even when Lappin returned from injury, Headland continued to produce, with a masterful 33-disposal, three-goal preliminary final performance to dispose of Port.

Des Headland celebrates a goal against Port Adelaide in the 2002 preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos

A week later he would go on to be part of the Lions' second premiership – his first.

That win over Collingwood was the last Headland would experience in Brisbane colours as he was granted a trade back to his home state to play his career out with Fremantle.

Lions players, staff and fans will long remember his 2002 explosion, though.

Des' domination in 2002

Round Opponent K M H D G B Brownlow votes
13 Carlton 18 5 2 20 6 0 3
14 Melbourne 15 9 9 24 5 3 1
15 Richmond 16 7 4 20 2 3 1
16 Sydney 22 4 4 26 2 2 3
17 Hawthorn 18 11 2 20 1 4 2
18 Essendon 21 8 7 28 3 0 3