Lincoln McCarthy kicks the Lions into attack. Picture: Getty Images
Lincoln McCarthy kicks the Lions into attack. Picture: Getty Images

Lions hit ground running to cause AFL boilover

On a day full of AFL upsets the Brisbane Lions have pulled off the biggest.

For so long AFL fans had been hearing that the Lions were building but years of honourable losses had left the Gabba quiet - not anymore.

Those once young cubs are now fully fledged pack hunters and the meat they craved on Saturday night was the rarest of birds, the eagle, but they hunted the Premiers, brought them down and devoured them.

It didn't look like that initially. West Coast came out firing and took a 27-point lead into the opening break.

But from there it was all Brisbane.

The Lions hunted the footy and their opposition in packs and not only outplayed the reigning Premiers, they were more physical and harder at the ball all night long.

Former No. 1 draft pick Cameron Rayner was particularly impressive with 14 disposals and two goals, but his pressure around the ball was also key and new recruit Lachie Neale brought a touch of class with his silky skills and 29 disposals and one goal.

Cameron Rayner and Lincoln McCarthy celebrate during their shock win over West Coast
Cameron Rayner and Lincoln McCarthy celebrate during their shock win over West Coast

Also impressive was Neale's childhood mate Lincoln McCarthy, who is finally injury-free and booted four for the Lions, to go nicely with three for livewire forward Charlie Cameron.

Neale, was left impressed after finally getting one over West Coast, after several losses to them as a Freo Docker.

"It's huge. It was an incredible atmosphere and the boys turned it on after quarter time," Neale said of the win.

Brisbane's pressure around the entire ground had the Premiers blazing the ball long, turning it over and making numerous errors and when the Lions led by 29 at three-quarter time it appeared all but over.

The Eagles tried to mount a comeback and Jack Darling briefly lifted them but in slippery conditions the Lions pounced with late goals to Daniel Rich, Rayner and captain Dayne Zorko sealing a famous win.

 

 

The win left West Coast star Luke Shuey, seething and despite them missing several stars, including multiple Coleman Medal winner Josh Kennedy, he said the Eagles had no excuse.

"They were better in the contest and worked harder than us both ways," Shuey said.

"That's an indictment on what we pride ourselves on.

"They're a good team. They will win a lot more than what they did last year."

While the win was massive for Brisbane, Zorko played it down to the press.

"It gives us belief," he said.

"It is only round one, so we just have to keep a lid on it and continue the process that has got us to this position."

The game finished on an even lower note for West Coast with enigmatic forward Liam Ryan reported for striking.

The Lions next play North Melbourne, while West Coast have a tough home game against GWS.

News Corp Australia


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