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NEAFL: Match Report, Round 17

Brisbane has returned to the top six with a crucial 12-point win over the Gold Coast SUNS at Metricon Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Lions proved too good for the SUNS for the third time this season, winning 11.16 (82) to 10.10 (70), for just their second win in nine games.

The Lions have been much better the last three weeks but, to beat the in-form Gold Coast, shows they have definitely improved from their mid-season slump.

Brisbane coach Mitch Hahn was pleased with the result, but in particular the start of the game where they established an early lead.

“Gold Coast were coming off a really good win against the Swans, and we knew we hadn’t been playing good football, so I was just really pleased with our start,” he told neafl.com.au.

The Lions were sensational in the first quarter, putting immense pressure on the SUNS and could have been further than 24 points up at quarter-time if it wasn’t for some inaccurate goal kicking.

The SUNS responded straight away in the second after a disappointing opening term, kicking the first three goals and cutting Brisbane’s lead to just six points in only five minutes of play.

After 15 minutes of end-to-end football and neither team being able to kick a goal, SUNS Academy player Harry Simington kicked his third major of the term to cut the Lion’s lead to just one.

Brisbane’s slim first-half lead of three points was extended by Brandon Starcevich early in the third quarter.

The Lions kicked another two before Simington booted his fourth, followed by a Michael Barlow snap, which brought the margin back to eight points at three-quarter time.

The SUNS were unable to win the fourth quarter either, with the Lions ensuring that they returned on the bus to Brisbane with the victory, kicking three goals to two.

As the mini-finals series between the Lions, SUNS and GIANTS continues, Hahn knows that his side cannot relax, despite taking back sixth spot.

It is also an exciting and nervous time for a lot of academy players trying to find themselves on AFL lists at the end of the year.

SUNS Academy players Connor Budarick, Bailey Scott and Simington - with his four goals - were terrific, but so was Cody Stackelberg for the Lions.

Starcevich, who played a role on Jacob Dawson in the first half, before getting released in the second, was classy in the middle, as was Archie Smith, Ryan Bastinac (36 disposals, 11 clearances), Ben Keays and Claye Beams.

Despite the tag, Dawson still played extremely well for the SUNS, racking up 32 disposals and six clearances.

Josh Schoenfeld (32 disposals), Ben Ainsworth (24 disposals and one goal) and Pearce Hanley (24 disposals) were all good in their returns for the SUNS as well.

The SUNS have a bye next week, while the Lions play the Sydney Swans in another crucial clash at the SCG.

 

Gold Coast SUNS v Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium

BRISBANE 5.6 5.11 8.14 11.16 (82)
GOLD COAST 2.0 6.2 8.6 10.10 (70)

GOALS – Gold Coast: H Simington 4 M Barlow 2 T Bowie 2 M Rosa B Ainsworth
Brisbane:
 C Beams 2 C Stackelberg 2 T Wooller 2 C Ballenden R Bewick J Preval B Starcevich C McFayden. 

BEST – Gold Coast: J Dawson C Budarick P Hanley B Scott H Simington J Schoenfeld.
Brisbane: L Dawson A Smith R Bastinac B Starcevich S Mayes C Beams.