BRISBANE has used a strong third quarter to overcome a horror start and defeat Greater Western Sydney by 14 points at the Gabba on Saturday.
The Lions looked like they hit the snooze button when the game started, trailing by 30 points midway through the first term, before doing enough to win 16.14 (110) to 15.6 (96).
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They have now moved to a 9-2 win-loss record ahead of a trip to Perth to face Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round 12.
Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale continued his stellar season, finishing with 39 disposals, nine clearances and two goals in another best-on-ground performance.
Neale had plenty of help from Jarrod Berry, whose career-high 33 disposals, that included a goal from 50m, helped turn the tide when his team needed it.
Brisbane was, to be kind, sloppy in the opening 20 minutes, lacking defensive intensity and making clumsy mistakes with the ball to give their opponents a hefty head start.
They trailed by 12 points at quarter-time and three points at the half, but used a five-goals-to-two third term to earn some breathing space.
With Neale, Berry, Cam Rayner (career-high 25 disposals) and Deven Robertson (17 and two goals) beginning to win the midfield battle, Brisbane eventually overcame the gritty Giants.
It had more inside 50s (60-50) and contested possessions (+29) to earn the victory.
In Mark McVeigh's second game in charge, the Giants would lose no admirers, continuing to charge in the final term when the game looked over.
Toby Greene kicked four goals, while Josh Kelly (31 and two goals) and Harry Himmelberg also influenced.
Greene kicked three early goals in the first quarter as the Lions, who preached defensive intensity all week following a poor showing in that department against Hawthorn six days earlier, again lacked intensity.
Reliable Harris Andrews and Darcy Gardiner made uncharacteristic mistakes as GWS kicked eight first-term goals to lead by 12 at quarter-time.
The game settled down in the second term, but with Berry and Neale lifting the midfield, Brisbane worked its way back.
Whether it was the 1.45pm start, the glorious day in Brisbane (the first for weeks) or just two teams having a purple patch, the first quarter was something else. With Greene kicking three goals to get the Giants off to a fast start and Lincoln McCarthy answering with three of his own, the teams combined for an incredible 14 goals in the first quarter. Alas for the Lions, they conceded eight – the most goals they've conceded in a first quarter at the Gabba this century.
Robertson grabs his chance
The hamstring injury suffered by Hugh McCluggage opened the door for Robertson – and the young West Australian grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The third-year midfielder was one of the catalysts for changing the momentum during the first term, crashing bodies around stoppages and winning his own ball against the tide. Robertson kicked a goal in the second quarter and topped it with an even better effort in the third, blind turning into space and snapping from close range. The 20-year-old finished with 17 disposals and two goals and will be difficult to drop next week.
Concussion for Callan Ward
Late in the first quarter, Giants veteran Callan Ward copped a blow no-one likes to see. With the ball kicked forward by Neale to centre half-forward, Ward drifted sideways with the flight to haul in what he thought was an uncontested mark. Little beknown to him, Eric Hipwood was steaming the other way and leapt for a mark, accidentally kneeing Ward in the side of the head. Ward stayed down and was helped from the field before failing a concussion test. It brought back memories of the 2016 preliminary final, when he also copped an accidental knee from Western Bulldog Zaine Cordy and had to leave the field.
BRISBANE 6.1 9.4 14.11 16.14 (110)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 8.1 10.1 12.2 15.6 (96)
Brisbane: McCarthy 4, McStay 2, Neale 2, Robertson 2, Bailey, Berry, Cameron, Hipwood, Rayner, Starcevich
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 4, Peatling 3, Hogan 2, Kelly 2, Coniglio, Flynn, Hill, Riccardi
Brisbane: Neale, Berry, Robertson, Rayner, McCarthy, Coleman
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Greene, Cumming, Himmelberg, Taylor, Coniglio
Greater Western Sydney: Ward (head)
Brisbane: Mitch Robinson (unused)
Greater Western Sydney: Xavier O’Halloran (replaced Ward in the second quarter)
Crowd: 22,068 at the Gabba