Neale sets record as Lions succumb to Tigers

Brisbane will host Richmond in a qualifying final at the Gabba after a meteoric climb of 13 places in a year to finish the season in second place on the AFL ladder.

The Lions fell short of their goal of securing the club's first minor premiership in 106 years - but as a dress rehearsal for a big final on the MCG the 27 point loss to Richmond yesterday has given coach Chris Fagan plenty to build on.

The Tigers ran out 12.10 (82) to 8.7 (55) courtesy of an opening quarter Tigers blitz but Fagan will point to the stats that show wins in contested possessions, clearances and inside fifty pressure, a Lions trademark, when he reviews the game.

 

Lachie Neale has the ball on a string for the Lions. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
Lachie Neale has the ball on a string for the Lions. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge

 

"The bottom line was it was an even contest after quarter time,'' he said.

"If you have a look at the stats we won a lot of areas you need to win to win a game of football.''

Fagan had been worried the venue provided a hurdle the players needed to overcome - an observation based on their record over the past few years and impossible to argue with given their start.

They received a first quarter reality check from a rampant Tigers outfit who moved the ball with a fluidity and precision the Lions couldn't cope with.

Veteran Luke Hodge attempts to break through a tackle. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
Veteran Luke Hodge attempts to break through a tackle. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge

 

The crowd was massive, 76,995 of them, and hostile and it affected the Lions. As good as Richmond were, Brisbane were their own worst enemies.

There was little Brisbane could do about a superb Dustin Martin clearance to Dion Prestia who found Jack Riewoldt on the lead.

But so many of the Tigers first quarter goals came from turnovers, many from fundamental Lions errors like dropped marks and missed handballs.

 

Charlie Cameron celebrates a goal. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Charlie Cameron celebrates a goal. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Riewoldt was the major beneficiary with four first quarter goals and after the first break his shell shocked opponent Marcus Adams was replaced by Darcy Gardiner.

At quarter time the margin was 25 points and the Lions' hopes of keeping the margin under the 63 points required to hold onto second spot was in question.

Whatever Fagan said to his men at the break worked. They got over the stage fright of the opening term and began to equalise things around the ground.

The turned the tables at the start of the third quarter - starting with two quick goals to Dayne Zorko and then when Charlie Cameron was finally given an inch to breathe by Dylan Grimes and broke free to kick his first the margin was down to seven.

But the Tigers steadied and it was to be as close as Brisbane would get.

"It was good to play here, that's great preparation,'' he said.

"I'm not surprised our group fought back they have been able to do that throughout the year and today was no exception,'' he said.

"Just not well enough to win the game, Richmond were the better side on the day.''

Cameron was frustrated by Grimes' close checking and although Fagan said he saw nothing untoward from his vantage point on the bench - he would have a close look at the tape.

"I couldn't see if it was legal or illegal, we will have a look at that and if we think there is something for the umpiring department to have a look at we will ask them too,'' he said.

 

 

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***Live stream the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season on KAYO SPORTS. Every match of every round. Live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >