Brisbane Lions fumble then rumble against Blues
Brisbane fumbled but eventually rumbled their way to a 45-point win over Carlton in their final dress rehearsal for the upcoming AFL season in Melbourne on Sunday night.
The Lions looked sluggish and less than polished early at Ikon Park in their last Marsh Community Series pre-season hitout but they woke from their slumber late in the second quarter to put the Blues to the sword ahead of their Round 1 clash with Hawthorn at the MCG on March 22.
Brisbane were superbly led by Charlie Cameron (five goals and 21 disposals), skipper Dayne Zorko (24 disposals, two goals), Hugh McCluggage (22 disposals, one goal) and Lachie Neale (23 disposals) in the 16.15 (111) to 10.6 (66) win.
"That's one of the things we've been working on all pre-season is to just hang in games and keep working away, chipping away and play our way and I thought that's what we did,'' Lions coach Chris Fagan said.
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"We got cleaned up in contested ball early in the game but from that point onwards, we turned it around and got the game played in our half.
"It was terrific to see them do that (and) we left a few out there.''
Brisbane broke Carlton's back early in the fourth term after back-to-back goals to Jarrod Berry and they went on with the job, with Cameron snapping his way to his fourth goal of the night to seal the deal while Mitch Robinson's defensive desperation highlighted the relentlessness of the Lions.
A late goal to new recruit Grant Birchall, who appeared to pick up a minor thumb injury, caused widespread celebrations from Brisbane, who had nine different goalkickers on the night.
The Lions drew level with the Blues then kicked ahead with Cameron and Daniel McStay getting their hands on the football in Brisbane's attacking 50 and hitting the scoreboard.
A Zorko goal helped Brisbane extend their cushion to 11 points at the last break after winning the territory battle across the third quarter when the Lions midfield got on top and stayed there.
Brisbane did well to only be trailing by five points at halftime given Carlton were too good for a vast majority of the first two quarters.
The Blues raced to a 20-1 lead in first term, with goalsneak Eddie Betts looking as potent as ever up forward for the hosts, who were dominating contested possessions.
Goals to McCluggage, Zorko and Cameron allowed the Lions to reduce Carlton's buffer to 11 points by quarter-time but the Blues kicked away again at the start of the second quarter with two rapid-fire goals.
Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Sam Docherty were at the heart of Carlton's superiority as the Blues worked harder and moved the ball better than Brisbane, who struggled to transition from the midfield into the forward line.
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