Dockers prevail in Gabba thriller - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers prevail in Gabba thriller

By Laine Clark 27/03/2011 12:14:25 AM Comments (0)

Exorcising the demons of 2010 will take some time for the Brisbane Lions, especially after suffering a season-opening two-point loss to Fremantle at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Enduring a 3-15 season finish in 2010 to freefall to 13th was hard enough - but the fallout over controversial forward Brendan Fevola was worse.

And they will need some more consoling after letting a 19-point lead slip to lose a season opener at the Gabba for the first time since 1998, 13.16 (94) to 14.8 (92).

Fremantle picked up where they left off from last year's surprise finals campaign by overcoming a worrying injury list to secure a rare Gabba win in front of 23,373.

The Lions weren't just counting the cost on the scoreboard on Saturday night.

Skipper Jonathan Brown was rushed to hospital after appearing to shatter his nose on Luke McPharlin's knee in a sickening third quarter collision.

Just minutes later Lions teammate Brent Staker limped off with a suspected knee complaint.

While his accidental contact on Brown hurt the Lions, McPharlin inflicted much more pain in the dying minutes of the match.

Somehow he squeezed through a free kick from the boundary in what was the matchwinner.

The win was made even more amazing considering Fremantle's lean run in Brisbane.

In 2010 the Dockers recorded their first win against the Lions at the Gabba in round seven, ending an eight-game and 15-year drought at the venue.

And Fremantle came into the game severely undermanned with the likes of Garrick Ibbotson, Roger Hayden, Matt de Boer, Michael Barlow, Tendai Mzungu, Alex Silvagni and Anthony Morabito all out injured.

Lions captain Brown kicked two majors to give the Lions a 4.5 (29) to 3.5 (23) buffer at the opening break.

And he had three by halftime as last-minute replacement Clayton Beams grabbed 12 touches and debutant Rohan Bewick impressed to help the Lions enjoy an 8.6 (54) to 6.8 (44) halftime lead.

Fremantle hit the ground running in the third term.

Chris Mayne made the most of a 50m penalty given away by a Lions runner stepping over the mark to goal before Hayden Ballantyne's majored soon after to give Fremantle the lead for the first time since the opening term.

But Brisbane clawed their way back to lead 10.7 (67) to 8.14 (62) at the final break - but at a price with Staker and Brown on the sideline.

The Lions suffered a blow before the match when veteran midfielder Luke Power withdrew with a back complaint, replaced by the impressive Clayton Beams, brother of Collingwood's Dayne.

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