Brisbane have broken their MCG hoodoo, after toppling reigning premiers Melbourne by 13 points in a semi final epic on Friday night.
In a scrappy contest that saw the Lions kick three goals in the first half, including one on the half-time siren, Chris Fagan’s men piled on 11 majors to five without premier scorer Joe Daniher in the second half.
The Demons were unable to capitalise on their scoring opportunities, leaving the door slightly ajar for a Brisbane outfit who would not be denied.
With Oscar McInerney and Daniher expected to be available, the Lions have set up a date with minor premiers Geelong at the MCG next Friday night in the prelim.
Tipped to lose the first elimination final to Richmond, Fagan’s side has defied the odds in consecutive weeks.
Amazing finals series for Brisbane burying hoodoos…
– hadn’t won at the G under Fagan (since 2014 overall)
– poor September record (now 2 in a row for first time under Fagan)
– against a team that had owned them recently (lost last 4 by average 44 v MEL) #AFLFinals
— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) September 9, 2022
So why can’t they do it again?
Brisbane break MCG hoodoo
Failing to win a game at the home of football since 2014, Brisbane were able to do it when it mattered most, in a semi final against the reigning premiers.
The streak ended at 11, with their most recent loss at the MCG against the Tigers in round 20, when they lost by seven points after leading by seven goals.
— AFL (@AFL) September 9, 2022
Berry’s your man
Jarrod Berry was the man that Fagan sent to Clayton Oliver in the second half and it turned the tides in Brisbane’s favour.
Aside from curbing Oliver’s influence, Berry collected 22 possessions (nine contested), six marks, five clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s.
One of the Brownlow favourites was kept to a measly 21 touches and struggled to get into the game once Berry was put to him.
A masterclass from Fagan and the Lions’ coaching group who initially put youngster Deven Robertson to Oliver, but realised there was something more Brisbane could get.
Hipwood delivers in Daniher’s absence
Eric Hipwood has stood up when its mattered most, with the versatile forward kicking four goals for the match, with three in the third term.
With tipsters struggling to find ways for the Lions to score against the best defensive team in the competition, it was Hipwood who seized the moment and drove his side to a preliminary final.
Whilst Steven May, Harrison Petty and Jake Lever loomed as difficult challenges, the 24-year-old proved that no task was too tough, as he sets his sights on the Cats.
Should Christian Petracca have played?
Despite leading the disposal count with 27 for the Demons, Christian Petracca looked uncomfortable on the field, with the 2021 Norm Smith Medalist carrying a fractured tibula from last week’s loss to Sydney.
With the right knee taped and looking worse for wear, it seemed that Petracca struggled to burst away from packs and break open the game like he usually does.
As speculation circled over whether the midfielder was right to go, Melbourne opted to go with their star.
Petracca performed valiantly, but would Simon Goodwin have benefitted more from a player that was 100 per cent fit?
Melbourne give up the lead, again
Melbourne were leading the Lions by 28 points with seconds to go in the second term, but conceded a late goal to have the margin reduced to 22.
From then on, it was all Brisbane, whose pressure and speed worried the Demons defence and was ultimately the deciding factor.
Goodwin will rue another opportunity missed by his side, which seems to be the general consensus for their 2022 campaign.