Queensland’s newest rivalry produced another thrilling chapter last night, with Brisbane taking out QClash5 13.16.94-13.14.92 over the Gold Coast SUNS at Metricon Stadium.
Brisbane could easily have been staring down a 0-3 record, after the Suns stormed home, kicking five goals in the final quarter.
In the end, the more experienced Lions managed to keep their composure and chalk up their first win of 2013.
The first half was controlled by the visitors, but for the second week in a row, Brisbane struggled to convert midfield dominance into scoreboard pressure, kicking 2.8 in the second term to lead 43-35 at the major break.
Four consecutive goals to the Suns in the third term saw the home side come back from 23 points down to draw level, but three late goals to the Lions kept them just in front.
Gold Coast never let up, with Harley Bennell and Rory Thompson kicking the opening two goals of the final term, but they could never quite get themselves in front.
A Michael Rischitelli soccer goal ignited the 12,961-strong crowd at Metricon with 50 seconds to go, but there wasn’t enough time for the Gold Coast to snatch the lead.
The match also signalled the return to form of Lions co-captain, Jonathan Brown, who kicked 5.1 and picked up the Marcus Ashcroft Medal.
Former Lion, Jared Brennan, also showed some of his best on the night, with 30 possessions.
Brisbane debutant, Sam Mayes, looked right at home at the top level, picking up 21 disposals in his first game.
Suns senior coach, Guy McKenna, said his side’s ability to run out the game was pleasing, coming off the back of a tough game against Sydney last weekend.
“The effort and our want and desire to run games out and stay in the contest (was there),” he said.
“Probably the result we had, we had opportunities and didn’t take them and gave them too many opportunities and they clearly took those.
Lions senior coach, Michael Voss said the thrilling game would hopefully help build the Queensland rivalry and the stature of the game in the state for years to come.
“The Queensland region is unique in that we need to be able to build the game up at the same time as [focusing on on-field issues],” Voss said.
“We hope that fans will come in the droves [to future Qclashes] because it is a pretty good spectacle and you’ve got two emerging teams coming through together.”
The win was the Lions’ fourth straight over the SUNS, and the Gold Coast will have their chance to claw back some bragging rights in Round 15 at the Gabba.