Lions knock out Saints in NAB Cup opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions knock out Saints in NAB Cup opener

By Laine Clark 15/02/2009 12:28:11 AM Comments (0)

Life as Brisbane Lions coach got off to a perfect start for Michael Voss at the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

But it was hardly seamless.

In the end, the Lions knocked out defending champions St Kilda 1.8.8 (65) to 0.8.8 (56) in an NAB Cup opener played in greasy conditions.

However, Voss was made to sweat it out as the Saints came back from 40 points down at halftime to get within a super goal of a young Brisbane outfit in the dying minutes.

Like the rest of the 6,103-strong Gold Coast crowd, Voss was on the edge of his seat as he watched what looked like a runaway win suddenly become a tense arm wrestle.

After the Lions' second quarter blitz, the Saints kicked seven of the last eight goals including a Stephen Milne double to cut the deficit to just nine.

In a scenario that seemed impossible at halftime, Raphael Clarke's goal at the death ensured the Saints needed a super goal to at least tie.

But a Lions outfit boasting four draftees - including high profile top pick Daniel Rich - held on in the wet, much to Voss' relief.

The tentative Lions of the second half were in stark contrast to the rampant hosts of the second quarter.

Brisbane simply ran amok after goals to Lions comeback kid Rhan Hooper - fined an incredible $40,000 in the pre-season for multiple breaches of his playing contract - and Mitch Clark had set up a 0.2.3 (15) to 0.1.3 (9) advantage at the opening break.

Josh Drummond's sensational super goal in the 10th minute of the second opened the floodgates as the Lions suddenly looked like they were doing it easy.

As Hooper threatened throughout, Scott Harding banged in two goals and Tasmanian draftee Aaron Cornelius and Tim Notting also helped themselves as the Lions roared to an incredible 1.6.6 (51) to 0.1.5 (11) halftime lead.

By the time Justin Sherman kicked the opening goal of the third term to blow out the deficit to 1.7.6 (57) to 0.1.5 (11), Brisbane had piled on 28 unanswered points.

But that only sparked a Saints march.

Hardman Brendon Goddard - a standout for the visitors - led a charge of four straight goals in the third, kicking two of his own.

Adding to Brisbane's pain in the Saints' 10 minute, 24 point burst in the third, Ash McGrath was placed on report for contact on Goddard in the goal square.

Harding's third goal proved a nice settler before the final break as the Lions enjoyed a 1.8.6 (63) to 0.5.7 (37) buffer.

But the Saints weren't taking no for an answer.

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