Lions cruise in fourth-straight win
HUGH McCluggage has again oozed class in a 24-point Brisbane win over Fremantle at the Gabba.
The silky Lions wingman ensured the absence of injured Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale wasn’t felt as the hosts ran out 14.11 (95) to 10.11 (71) winners in a game that was first scheduled to be played at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
McCluggage finished with 27 disposals, one goal and four goal assists, standing tall in the first half as they built a match-winning lead.
His service to the Lions’ small forwards stood out, McCluggage spinning out of the clutches of two Dockers tacklers and hitting Charlie Cameron on the chest as the lead swelled to 34 points at halftime.
Every Lions forward kicked a goal but Cameron (11 marks, three goals, five behinds) was the standout with five first-quarter marks inside 50m, only inaccuracy robbing him of a night out against the West Australians.
Two goals each to Caleb Serong and Matt Taberner, including one either side of halftime from the tall forward, gave the visitors a sniff but Cameron’s third and a drilled major from Jarryd Lyons (30 disposals) quickly snuffed that out.
The lead hit 47 points in the third term before Fremantle kicked the game’s last three goals, while Fremantle also led the inside-50 count 52-49.
The Lions’ fourth straight win moved them to 5-3 and up to fifth ahead of Sydney and West Coast – a win behind third-placed Port Adelaide – after they’d slumped to 1-3, while it was the Dockers’ (4-4) second-straight loss.
As against Port last week, the Lions’ defensive pressure was enough to strangle the Dockers’ in a decisive first half, Nat Fyfe (27 touches, 18 contested possessions, eight clearances) unable to break the game open.
When he finally did see some ball in the third term, Fyfe was let down by his boot, missing a soccered goal from point-blank range then following up with a behind from a set-shot from a similar spot.
Daniel Rich (31 touches) continued his strong form while Andrew Brayshaw (28) and David Mundy (27) supported Fyfe.
Connor Blakely was subbed in for Dockers forward Michael Frederick (ankle) in the first term.
The Lions play neighbours Gold Coast on Saturday while the Dockers, after the recent COVID-19 outbreak in their home state, will remain on the Gold Coast before their next game against Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
(C) AAP 2021
BRISBANE LIONS 5.4 8.7 12.9 14.11 (95)
FREMANTLE 2.1 3.3 7.7 10.11 (71)
Goals: Brisbane Lions: C Cameron 3 J Daniher 2 C Ah Chee D McStay E Hipwood H McCluggage J Lyons J Prior L McCarthy O McInerney R Mathieson. Fremantle: C Serong 2 M Taberner 2 D Mundy L Henry M Walters N Fyfe R Lobb S Darcy.
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Nicholas Foot, Cameron Dore.
Official Crowd: 15,403 at Gabba.