Lions survive stunning Sydney fightback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions survive stunning Sydney fightback

By James Dampney 29/08/2009 10:09:22 PM Comments (0)

The Brisbane Lions have just held off a gallant Sydney side to seal a home AFL final and steal the show from a trio of retiring Swans at the SCG.

On a night that brought the curtain down on a wonderful era in Sydney, Brisbane built a 39-point lead midway through the third term before withstanding a stunning Swans fightback to just prevail 15.10 (100) to 14.8 (92).

Brisbane will finish sixth on the ladder with 13 wins and a draw from their 22 games to make the finals for the first time since 2004 in coach Michael Voss' first year at the helm.

They will now host Carlton at the Gabba in an elimination final next week.

It's a different story for the Swans, however, whose streak of six straight finals appearances officially ended as the club farewelled retiring stars Michael O'Loughlin, Leo Barry and Jared Crouch.

With Barry Hall also quitting Sydney during the year and a host of youngsters being introduced over the past two seasons, a period of success that culminated in the 2005 flag has ended in the harbour city.

But it was nearly a very different finish to the home-and-away season for both sides after the Swans turned the game on its head in the third quarter.

With the Lions in cruise control, Sydney suddenly produced a stunning 11-minute burst that led to five straight goals as they closed to within 14 points at the final change.

When Adam Goodes kicked his third goal with six minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter the margin was just one point but Justin Sherman replied on the run as the visitors just survived a thrilling contest.

Mitch Clark was outstanding for the Lions, while Jonathan Brown and Justin Sherman both kicked three goals.

Ryan O'Keefe and Adam Goodes once again stood out for the home side, while O'Loughlin kicked four goals to finish with 521 for his career and Jesse White and Goodes added three apiece.

It was a night of nostalgia at the SCG, with the Swans welcomed onto the ground by a host of past greats, including Bob Skilton, Paul Kelly, Barry Round, John Rantall and Hall.

Once the game got underway, Sydney gave the crowd exactly what they wanted when they won the first clearance and Goodes found O'Loughlin on the lead 15 seconds into the contest.

The game's record-holder kicked truly to give the Swans the perfect start.

Brisbane then gradually got on top and seemed certain winners, before just hanging on in the final term.

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