BRISBANE has prevailed in a back-and-forth final term to move to outright second on the AFL ladder and add another chapter to their AFL resurgence.
The Lions’ 12.15 (87) to 12.3 (75) victory over North Melbourne was their 12th of the season but nothing came easy, even when the game finally looked won entering the final 10 minutes.
They trailed by 21 against a relentless North Melbourne in the first term before hitting the lead in the third term as they looked to be motoring to a fifth- straight triumph.
But, ahead by 12 with eight minutes to play, North kicked two against the run of play to ignite a final quarter battle that featured four lead changes.
Ben Brown’s third goal put the Kangaroos in front before 200-gamer Daniel Rich drilled the go-ahead goal from 50-metres with four minutes on the clock.
Tarryn Thomas kicked his second of the term to silence the 23,833 at the Gabba, before Oscar McInerney and Hugh McCluggage both kicked straight after earning penalties in the final 80 seconds.
Jarryd Lyons (30 disposals, 13 clearances) and Allen Christensen (three goals) did the damage for the Lions while Shaun Higgins (27 disposals) slotted straight back into the groove in his return from shoulder surgery.
Having won five of their last seven, North found plenty of space up front and Mason Wood launched one from 50m in the pocket to continue their charge.
Relentless defensive pressure squashed any signs of a Brisbane comeback as the visitors threatened to spoil Rich’s celebrations.
The hosts kept coming though, Christensen goaling in each of the first three quarters and Lyons sneaking one through late in the third quarter to give the Lions their first lead.
Weight of possession and territory finally told as Brisbane kicked 3.5 in a third quarter where North didn’t add to their halftime score.
A classy McCluggage finish then powered Brisbane 10 points clear in the final term before a Thomas bomb set up the nail-biting finish.
Earlier, Lachie Neale’s rough treatment continued for a second straight week, with Jed Anderson and Jy Simpkin flooring the Brisbane ball-winner on consecutive plays in the first quarter.
© AAP 2019
BRISBANE LIONS 1.4 4.7 7.12 12.15 (87)
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.0 8.2 8.2 12.3 (75)
Goals: Brisbane Lions: A Christensen 3 C Cameron 2 J Lyons 2 O McInerney 2 D Rich H McCluggage L McCarthy. North Melbourne: B Brown 3 M Wood 2 N Larkey 2 T Thomas 2 B Cunnington J Polec S Higgins. Umpires: Matt Stevic, Andrew Stephens, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 23,833 at Gabba.