Coach Chris Fagan has hailed Brisbane’s resilience as they bounced back from a disappointing loss to Fremantle and a short turnaround to beat a gutsy St Kilda by 21 points and enter the bye in the AFL top-two.
Saturday night’s clash with the Saints teetered on the brink before Brisbane kicked three of the final four goals to prevail 10.18 (78) to 8.9 (57) at the Gabba.
The victory came at a cost though, with skipper Dayne Zorko substituted out for Darcy Fort with a third-term hamstring injury while Darcy Gardiner had treatment on his back/ribs and failed to finish the contest.
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“A really, good tough win I reckon tonight,” Fagan said.
“Our kicking for goal didn’t help us and we were a bit unlucky with a few of those (score) reviews.
“On the back of coming back on the red eye last week, getting back to Brisbane at five o’clock on Monday morning.
“The way the boys went about their work this week and the improvements we made in things like scores against from stoppage, when you’ve only got five or six days to do it, they took that on board and I’m just so pleased for them.
“Really proud of the group tonight, I thought that was a real gutsy win.”
St Kilda did brilliantly to fight out the game, with just two players on the bench in the final quarter.
They lost Mitchito Owens and Daniel McKenzie to concussion either side of halftime, with substitute Jarrod Lienert replacing Owens at the main break, while Zak Jones suffered a third-quarter hamstring injury.
Lions stars Lachie Neale (37 disposals, 460 metres gained) and Hugh McCluggage (33 disposals, seven clearances) were typically prolific.
Joe Daniher kicked three goals on his return and classy Keidean Coleman impressed.
Jack Sinclair (30 disposals), Brad Crouch (26 disposals, 10 tackles) and Jade Gresham (two goals) were busy for St Kilda.
King booted the first two goals of the match, both from free kicks before Brisbane received an unlikely gift late in the first term.
Daniher goaled from open play and in the aftermath, amid a scuffle, Brad Crouch slung Charlie Cameron to the ground by the neck.
Cameron was given a free kick straight in front of goal and he handed the Lions a quarter-time lead.
St Kilda brushed off the disappointment and led by 12 at halftime.
Brisbane gained the ascendancy as injury hit the Saints, but the Lions’ inaccuracy hurt as the game remained in the balance.
The AFL score review system proved contentious, with McCluggage and Cam Rayner having goals chalked off in the third and fourth terms respectively.
But neither affected the outcome, as Brisbane kicked on from their three-point lead at the final change.
“I thought we tried but by the end we just ran out of a bit of puff in that last quarter,” St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.
“But before that we were in and around the game.”