Brisbane beats Sydney to crack SCG hoodoo



Brisbane stamped itself as the front-runner to challenge reigning premier Melbourne with a resounding 24-point victory over Sydney at the SCG on Sunday afternoon.

The Lions were without Joe Daniher for the second half but were still able to withstand a Lance Franklin-inspired fightback by the Swans to run out 17.11 (113) to 13.11 (89) winners.

Brisbane dominated in the ruck and around the stoppages to lead by 33-points at halftime but saw the margin all but disappear as the Swans kicked five goals in the opening eight minutes of the third term.

Franklin slotted four of those majors including a dribble kick from the boundary line that was paid despite bouncing off the goal umpire and back into play.

Five unanswered goals by Lions

Brisbane then responded with five unanswered goals of its own to set up its first win at the SCG since 2009.

The Lions’ hoodoo-breaking victory was soured by an injury to star forward Daniher who left the field just before halftime and was then subbed out with a shoulder injury.

Daniher entered the round sitting in equal-second place in the Coleman Medal with 19 goals, but could only kick two behinds from his three disposals against the Swans.

“He had a bit of a sore shoulder so we didn’t want to take any risks with him,” Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.

“We had 10 goalkickers tonight, we regularly have 10 goalkickers. We don’t really rely on one person to score for us.”

Swans superstar Lance Franklin kicked six goals but was unable to prevent the Lions’ victory. Photo: AAP

While Franklin finished the match with six goals, Tom Papley was unable to have his usual impact in his first game of the season.

Papley had been sidelined by a hamstring injury sustained in the pre-season but after winning the opening clearance of the match, the 2021 All-Australian forward could only gather 10 possessions and failed to hit the scoreboard while the Swans only had five goalkickers.

“We got what we knew we’d get. It was his first game back, we’re not relying upon Tom Papley. He hasn’t played for six weeks, he’ll be better for that run,” Sydney coach John Longmire said.

Pressure produces error-strewn start

The top-four contenders entered the clash as the highest scoring teams in the competition with Brisbane averaging 16 goals a game and Sydney 15, but in an error-filled opening it took 10 minutes for the first major to be slotted.

That came after Errol Gulden spilt an uncontested mark inside 50 but was able to recover quickly enough to get a boot to the ball and steer it through.

Dan McStay kicked the only other goal of the first term, after Dane Rampe chose to thump the ball out of the goal square with two fists rather than marking then failed to get a finger to the ball as the Brisbane tall forward wobbled a shot through at head height.

Lions’ veteran Dayne Zorko returned from half-back to his more familiar midfield role and kickstarted the contest in the second term with back-to-back goals from outside 50m in the first five minutes, as the visitors then pushed out to a 7.7 to 2.4 lead at the main change.

Bulldogs bounce back at Bombers’ expense

The victory entrenches the Lions in second place on the ladder with West Coast at the Gabba to come on Saturday night, while the Swans will be back at the SCG to face Gold Coast.

In other AFL games on Sunday, Essendon coach Ben Rutten was left frustrated by a 32-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs that has his side’s season on the brink of collapse.

Out-of-contract star Josh Dunkley was best afield for the Bulldogs with 29 disposals and two goals in their 16.7 (103) to 10.11 (71) win at Marvel Stadium.

Dunkley was superb in a dominant midfield, with a support cast featuring Jack Macrae and Bailey Smith, that generated a 66-39 landslide in forward-50 entries.

Earlier, Collingwood overcame a week of injury and illness to jump Gold Coast and grind out a 25-point win at the MCG.

The Magpies bounced the Suns with a seven-goal burst in the first term that proved a crucial buffer in their 17.13 (115) to 14.6 (90) victory.


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