Lucky? Fagan proud of 3-0 Lions
It was almost death by a thousand cuts for the Lions at the Gabba, then up stepped 'Big O' with the knockout blow.
Eric Hipwood starred with an equal personal best six goals but it was Oscar McInerney's mighty pack mark and nerveless conversion, with three minutes remaining, that put the Lions back in front and finally brought an anxious 19,958 strong Gabba crowd to life.
It took the life out of Port Adelaide who had been the better side for most of the night and the final minutes were party time as Hipwood and Charlie Cameron booted late goals to seal the 16.11. (107) to 13.12 (90).
Lachie Neale was again prolific with 43 disposals and 16 clearances, Josh Walker and Daniel Rich were superb in a defence that was under siege for most of the night and Mitch Robinson for the second week in a row electrified his team with his fierce competitiveness.
The Lions last year lost a handful of games they could have won so it's only fair they snatched one they could so easily have lost.
There were concerns for coach Chris Fagan.
One, how did they let a kid in his third game so utterly destroy them?
Connor Rozee was the fifth pick in last year's draft so he can clearly play, but to be given the freedom to pick up 21 possessions and boot five goals was poor by the Lions.
His fifth goal, early in the final quarter, gave the Power the lead for the first time in the match.
Not since Chris Judd tore the Lions apart here in 2003 has a teenager caused such carnage. And that was the future Brownlow medallist's second year, not his third game.
Sam Powell-Pepper also ran rampant in the midfield in the second and third quarters and looked set to lead his side to victory. No one laid a hand on him.
Paddy Ryder played a mighty game and Travis Boak and Ryan Burton were also prominent.
Port outmuscled the Lions in the centre-clearances where Neale appeared to be waging a one man war. They also tackled with ore desire than the hosts.
But they just couldn't convert.
The Power's second quarter was one coaches must hate. They were all over the Lions in every aspect of the game. But they could not convert their chances.
They booted 2.7 for the quarter to the Lions' 3.2 and somehow handed the hoists the quarter by a point.
The culprits were some of their biggest names and most reliable players. Robbie Grey missed two, Justin Westhoff and Brad Ebert both fluffed chances they would normally make.
The third was much of the same. Port on top but unable to put their opponents to the sword.
And this Brisbane side is full of belief. The tide of possession and field position may have been against them but the scoreboard told them they were still in the contest. And when the game was there to be won, they didn't miss a beat.
A relieved Fagan said after the match that Port had "probably they deserved to win more than we did'' but he was thrilled his side found an extra gear when it was needed.
"We had been beaten pretty badly at contested ball for most of the night and we just got our act together for that last 10 minutes and played some pretty strong football," Fagan said.
"Guys just lifted, they sensed the occasion and obviously have a huge desire to win games of footy and found a way, so I'm really proud of them for doing that."
BRISBANE LIONS 5.2 8.4 11.6 16.11 (107)
PORT ADELAIDE 3.2 5.9 9.11 13.12 (90)
Goals: Brisbane Lions: E Hipwood 6 C Rayner2 D McStay 2 H McCluggage 2 C Cameron L McCarthy L Neale O McInerney. Port Adelaide: C Rozee 5 P Ryder 3 R Gray 2 T Boak 2O Wines.
Best: Brisbane Lions: Neale, Hipwood, Walker, Rich, Robinson
Port Adelaide: Rozee, Ryder, Powell-Pepper, Boak, Burton, Gray
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Nicholas Foot, Andre Gianfagna.
Official Crowd: 19,958 at Gabba.
ANDREW HAMILTON'S VOTES:
3 - Lachie Neale (Bris)
2 - Connor Rozee (PA)
1 - Eric Hipwood (Bris)