By Ashley Browne lions.com.au
The Lions are into their first NAB Cup Grand Final since 2007 following a 34-point win over Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The Lions will face Carlton – who beat them by 25 points in the pre-season decider six years ago – at Etihad Stadium on Friday night in a clash that won’t be quite the box office draw that an early meeting between Carlton coach Mick Malthouse and his former charges at Collingwood would have been.
But the Lions won’t care. They have been the only unbeaten side through the pre-season and they put this game away with an imposing second half that they started a point in arrears.
On a steamy night with the Etihad roof open, both sides took advanrtage of the ability to rotate as often as they could. The Pies made 168 changes off the bench, while the Lions had 143.
The Lions’ forward pressure was superb and after some early struggles, they eventually found several avenues to goal. Small forward Rohan Bewick kicked four, while Aaron Cornelius followed last week’s five-goal haul with another three.
Former Melbourne forward Stefan Martin also presented well and kicked a goal.
He and Cornelius are shaping as key forward targets for the Lions this year alongside co-captain Jonathan Brown, who played his first game for the season, and even though he kicked a goal, will clearly be better for the run.
The Lions’ midfield run was generated by Daniel Rich, who was superb after quarter-time, Jed Adcock, Tom Rockliff and Pearce Hanley.
COLLINGWOOD 0.2.4 0.4.8 0.6.10 0.7.12 (54)
BRISBANE LIONS 0.2.3 0.4.7 0.9.12 0.12.16 (88)
BRISBANE LIONS: Nil
COLLINGWOOD: Beams 2, Lynch 2, Mooney, Goldsack, Kennedy
BRISBANE LIONS: Bewick 4, Cornelius 3, Hanley, Rich, Martin, Green, Brown
COLLINGWOOD: Beams, Sidebottom, Kennedy, Seedman
BRISBANE LIONS: Rich, Green, Patfull, Cornelius, Bewick, Hanley
BRISBANE LIONS: Nil
Umpires: Dalgleish, Meredith, Burgess
Official crowd: 12,093 at Etihad Stadium
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs