The Brisbane Lions have overcome the pre-game loss of Lachie Neale and a spirited effort from Adelaide to tighten their grip on a top-four spot with a late blitz sealing a 52-point victory.
With Neale ruled out with a calf injury on Saturday morning, the Lions struggled to shake the determined Crows before breaking the game open with a six-goals-to-three third quarter that set up the 17.9 (111) to 8.11 (59) win at Adelaide Oval.
Brisbane spread the load well in the absence of the Brownlow Medallist, with former Crow Jarryd Lyons pivotal in bringing his old side undone in his 150th game.
Mitch Robinson was his usual combative self, Lincoln McCarthy booted four goals and Zac Bailey showed why many regard him a superstar in the making with a career-high 15 contested possessions and three goals.
The Crows, who lost Taylor Walker to injury before half-time, can feel aggrieved by the size of the final margin that doesn’t accurately reflect how hard they made their well-credentialed opponents work for their 11th win of the season.
Rory Laird and Ben Keays were never far from the action and Paul Seedsman was damaging with two goals off a wing.
A week after the Lions played some scintillating, free-flowing footy in a 44-point win over top-four rival Geelong, Chris Fagan’s side struggled to release the handbrake applied by a dogged Crows outfit in the first half.
Adelaide was on the wrong side of a 21-9 inside 50 count in the first quarter, but the home side did well to deny its opponents clean entries into attack to go into the first break just nine points down.
The game was an arm-wrestle early before the Lions pulled away. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Walker left the game 13 minutes into the second quarter after he suffered a strained neck in a heavy collision with Daniel Rich and Joe Daniher put his side 15 points up with his second goal soon after.
But again, the Crows battled on to trail by eight points at the main break.
McCarthy helped spur the Lions with two goals in the third quarter. Dayne Zorko had a quiet night with just two disposals to half-time, but the skipper made it a 24-point game at three-quarter time with his second goal.
The visitors’ premiership credentials were on display in a clinical final term. Having absorbed Adelaide’s best, the Lions added a nice percentage boost with a six-goals-to-one final flourish.
CROWS 2.1 4.4 7.7 8.11 (59)
LIONS 3.4 5.6 11.7 17.9 (111)
PHELAN’S BEST CROWS: Laird, Keays, Seedsman, O’Brien, Sholl, Butts. LIONS: Lyons, Adams, Bailey, Robinson, McCarthy, McCluggage.
GOALS CROWS: Seedsman 2, McKay, Schoenberg, Sloane, Thilthorpe, Walker, Doedee. LIONS: McCarthy 4, Bailey 3, Cameron 3, Daniher 2, Zorko 2, McStay 2, McCluggage.
INJURIES CROWS: Walker (neck strain). LIONS: Neale (calf, late withdrawal).
UMPIRES Fisher, Gavine, Fleer
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JASON PHELAN’S VOTES
3 J. Lyons (Bris)
2 M. Adams (Bris)
1 R. Laird (Adel)
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