Gutsy Lions fall short to Giants in brutal final
Brisbane's captivating charge from 15th on the ladder to the brink of a finals fairytale is over after a heartbreaking three point loss to GWS.
The Lions finish Chris Fagan's third season in charge in sixth place after a 12.11 (83) to 11.14 (80) semi-final loss in front of 30,034 at the Gabba.
GWS will play Collingwood in a preliminary final next week while the Lions will spend the summer wondering what might have been had they not gifted the Giants the first four goals due to a shocking start to the game.
Brisbane thought their September campaign would survive another week when, after fighting back from a 25 point deficit, they finally hit the lead through an Allen Christensen goal with five minutes to go.
But when Brent Daniels scooted away from Alex Witherden and curled a banana kick through to reclaim the lead for the Giants three minutes later, the Lions' hearts were broken.
The siren sounded to end their season but the sound of the "Lions, Lions, Lions" chant after the game showed the fans think the journey is only just beginning.
UMPIRES TOO INVOLVED
THE Gabba has seen plenty of big scores over the years but it is not often the umpires raising the bat. The 54 free kicks paid was the only downer on what was a superb game of footy.
The fans were right to be frustrated and they vented their fury as the men in green trudged off the ground.
HIPPY HIPPY SHAKES
TAKE a bow Eric Hipwood.
The Lions forward entered the game as the player under the most pressure after a quiet second half of the season and a shocker last week.
He rose to the occasion last night with a tree goal and seven mark performance.
THE CUBS ARE GUNS
BRISBANE will be spectators for the rest of September but will head into summer knowing they have some young players who have stepped up in finals.
Jarrod Berry was superb, Hugh McCluggage got better and better as the game wore on and probably would have been best on ground if it went into a fifth quarter.
Alex Witherden stood up with some desperate defensive efforts and Cam Rayner also had some big moments.
GET THE WALLETS OUT
THERE will be some boys light of pocket after the MRO Michael Christian reviews the game. The niggle was on from the start.
Charlie Cameron copped some unsavory attention from Giants trio Matt Kennedy, Heath Shaw and Zac Williams for most of the night while Nick Robertson gave similar treatment to Lachie Whitfield.
Around the ground there were spot fires everywhere.
Aidan Corr might be in strife for a strike on Jarrod Berry while Darcy Gardiner, Jeremy Finlayson, Dayne Zorko, Zac Bailey and Toby Greene were all in scuffles.
ROBBO 2.0 FIRES UP
NICK Robertson had big shoes to fill.
As the call-up for Mitch Robinson he wasn't just required to duplicate the Tasmanian's aggression, which is his natural approach anyway, but also take the place of a player very important to Brisbane's structure.
Chris Fagan opted to shuffle his side around, rotating players through the wing and giving Robertson a defensive role assignment Lachie Whitfield.
He took to his task with gusto and drove Whitfield mad, playing right on the edge of the rules and possibly beyond them at times, such as when he gave the Giants star a little whack on the back moments after he'd copped a knee in the same area.
There was a danger Whitfield would eventually blow him up with his elite running but Robertson proved to be an inspired choice by Fagan.
CHARLIE THE BRAVE
CHARLIE Cameron hasn't had the best few weeks.
But he earned a lot of admirers for the gutsy effort to return to the field after a sickening arm injury suffered in the opening minutes.
Cameron was attempting to tackle Tim Taranto when he was sandwiched by team mate Lachie Neale and appeared to hyper-extend his elbow.
His night looked done as he lay writhing in pain as trainers rushed to his aid. But after a brief spell on the bench where he was heavily strapped up he returned to action to take a courageous mark and snap a goal.
He was troubled by the injury all night and the Giants didn't miss a chance to test him out, but he battled on and played well.