BRISBANE might start wishing it played every game on a Monday after a crushing second-half performance against West Coast to win by 45 points at Hickey Park.
The 10.5 (65) to 2.8 (20) victory keeps the Lions undefeated and on top of the ladder ahead of what should be a sterner test against Adelaide at the same venue on Sunday.
LIONS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
Although the final margin was comfortable, Brisbane only led by a point at half-time and was lucky to be in front.
The Eagles dominated the clearances and inside 50s in the first two quarters but could not capitalise and it came back to bite them after the main break.
That's when things changed in dramatic fashion.
Whatever coach Craig Starcevich said at half-time he'll wish he could bottle, as the hosts kicked four goals in the opening six minutes of the third to put the game away.
The Lions started winning the ball out of the middle and their forwards capitalised, with youngster Taylor Smith (three goals) and Dakota Davidson (two) finishing off some fine play upfield.
Veteran Lauren Arnell (18 and one goal) continued her exceptional season, as did Sophie Conway (15 and five tackles).
Kate Lutkins and Bree Koenen were largely responsible for keeping Brisbane in the match during the first half as the defence held up despite conceding 18 inside 50s to eight.
More to come
Five minutes of madness
From the opening bounce of the third quarter, Brisbane was a different team. After struggling to win a clearance in the opening half the Lions began waltzing the ball out of the middle and giving the forwards plenty of opportunities – and boy did they cash in. Dakota Davidson kicked the opening goal of the quarter from a tight angle, and when Ally Anderson cleverly snapped from close range and Jesse Wardlaw converted a set shot, the home team was away and never looked back.
All the play but nothing to show
West Coast could have had the game on ice by quarter-time but failed to cash in on their dominance. They absolutely destroyed a flat Brisbane around the contest, winning the clearance count 13-0 in the opening term. It led to 11 inside 50s to Brisbane's two, but unfortunately the polish wasn't there. They kicked 1.5 and missed another two shots to go to the first change with a narrow five-point lead.
For the past couple of seasons Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich has generally stuck to a tried-and-tested midfield rotation – but not this time. With his on-ball brigade of Emily Bates, Ally Anderson and Cathy Svarc being slaughtered in the first half, Starcevich threw some new players into the middle with great success. Speedster Courtney Hodder, in just her third game, lively Sophie Conway, and hard-nut Bree Koenen all took stints around the contest and helped turn the tide for the Lions.
"You have to expect good teams to come at you and we were a little bit flat early. We were right in a contest and it was valuable for later on in the year…to get some composure and try to find a solution to this." - Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
"I’ve been really proud of their effort for periods of the game … but against good teams you need to play for four quarters. Brisbane are at the top of the table for a reason and they made us pay. It could have been a completely different game (if West Coast kicked straight in the first term). Brisbane kicked pretty straight in that third and got put on the back foot a bit and we didn’t handle it." – West Coast coach Daniel Pratt
Brisbane will be out for a fourth straight win when it plays its third straight match at Hickey Park on Sunday against Adelaide at 12.10pm (AEST). West Coast also has a six-day turnaround and another trip east to play Greater Western Sydney at Blacktown International Sportspark at 5.10pm (AEDT) on Sunday.
BRISBANE 1.0 3.1 8.5 10.5 (65)
WEST COAST 1.5 2.6 2.6 2.8 (20)
Brisbane: Smith 3, Davidson 2, Anderson, Arnell, Bates, Bodey
West Coast: Gilmore, McCarthy
Brisbane: Arnell, Conway, Smith, Bodey, Grider, Lutkins, Koenen
West Coast: McCarthy, Laurie, Swanson, Lewis
West Coast: Gilmore (head)
Crowd: N/A at Hickey Park
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