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

Dockers beat Lions in Gabba thriller

By Laine Clark 27/03/2011 01:09:35 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.

Fremantle picked up where they left off from last year's surprise finals campaign by overcoming a worrying injury list to win 13.16 (94) to 14.8 (92) in front of 23,373 fans.

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

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 earlier Lions teammate Brent Staker limped off with a suspected knee ligament injury.

While McPharlin's accidental contact on Brown hurt the Lions, Michael Walters inflicted far more pain in the dying minutes.

Somehow he squeezed through a free kick from the boundary to notch his second major - and the matchwinner.

Victory was 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 entered 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 Claye 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 Beams, brother of Collingwood's Dayne.

Dockers coach Mark Harvey paid tribute to the unlucky Lions.

"I would like to say the Brisbane Lions were fantastic for the way they fought out the game," he said.

"But the reality is sometimes you win the games you shouldn't.

"A lot didn't go right for Brisbane - it was one that got away from them."

Lions mentor Michael Voss said his men would walk away with their heads held high.

"I felt for much of the game that it was a game that we should have won," he said.

"But you can walk away with the four points or with pride in your performance - we walk away with one of them tonight.

"We hung in there. Some guys went down but there was not much we could have done about that.

"Yet our guys were nothing short of sensational."

Voss believed Brown suffered a cheek injury but would know more after scans.

Unfortunately Staker is believed to have suffered a suspected ACL injury.

"We will lick our wounds but we know now that we are up for the contest," Voss said.

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