1. The mark of Zorko
The Lions' second quarter tally of 7.5 (to just 2.2) was their best of the year, and the player most instrumental in setting up a surprise 27-point half-time lead for the visitors was ever-lively midfielder Dayne Zorko. On numerous occasions Zorko hit the ball at full tilt, at times gathering the ball miraculously with one touch, before leaving the Dogs in his wake. The brilliant 25-year-old had nine disposals for the term and snapped a smart goal. In the first term he also set the game alight with a hardball-get and blind-turn in the one motion, an electrifying two-bounce burst and a deft pass to James Aish for a goal.
2. Stefan steps up against the odds
With Trent West and Matthew Leuenberger sidelined with long-term knee injuries, it fell to former Demon big man Stefan Martin to carry the Lions' ruck division in his first AFL game since round four last year, on limited preparation, against reigning All Australian ruckman Will Minson. Martin had played just two NEAFL matches after overcoming a back problem and is perhaps better suited to centre half-back, but played like a man possessed. Not only did he limit Minson's effectiveness – which was helped by some strategic double-teaming of the big Dog – but Martin also created goals for the Lions with his tap-work and fierceness. As former Hawk and Sun Campbell Brown noted on Triple M: "Sometimes in life, crisis creates opportunity, and that's exactly what's happening with Stefan Martin."
3. A tale of contrasting champions
Few could have forecast the past two performances of champions Ryan Griffen and Jonathan Brown. Last week Freo's human blanket stopper Ryan Crowley restricted Dogs skipper Griffen to just 10 touches – his lowest tally since his second season, 2006 – and this time, after his coach Brendan McCartney predicted "he'll play well", Jack Redden kept him to just 21. Meanwhile, Brown had been written off as a spent force but has been a strong target with multiple goals against Carlton and the Dogs.
4. Milestone Mitch
In his 50th AFL game, Mitch Wallis produced another solid tagging job on one of the game's best midfielders. In his senior recall last week, the 21-year-old blanketed Freo gun Nat Fyfe and this time nullified Tom Rockliff – one of the premier ball-winners in the AFL this season – before spending some time on the dangerous Zorko. Wallis also got a handball at each of the first four centre bounces. He still has a way to go to catch his father Steve, who captained the club and won a best and fairest in a 261-game career, but it should be the first of several games milestones for the youngster.
5. Bewick's unlucky blemish
With the scores level just before quarter-time, Brisbane Lions backman Joel Patfull took a relieving mark deep in defence and looked to maintain possession before the first break. His short pass to teammate Rohan Bewick was not deemed to have travelled 15 metres – which appeared harsh – and Bulldogs opportunist Jason Tutt pounced on the unaware Bewick, who was penalised for holding the ball. Tutt nailed the regulation set shot to give the Dogs a six-point lead at quarter-time. After weathering an early Dogs storm, it was a disappointing result for the Lions that left coach Justin Leppitsch fuming. It was a rare blemish on the night for Bewick who, after being promoted from the NEAFL, finished with a career-high 30 disposals, to eclipse his previous best of 24 touches.