Lions cop a finals lesson from clinical Tigers
Something had to break.
In the end it was Brisbane's perfect finals record at the Gabba as the Tigers kept their decade long dominance over the Lions intact with a 47 point demolition in their qualifying final.
Lions coach Chris Fagan is now hoping Brisbane's spirit wasn't also shattered.
And it shouldn't be.
The biggest AFL crowd ever at the Gabba of 37,478 saw a masterclass from Tigers superstar Dustin Martin and an inept goal kicking display from the Lions - and that was really the major difference between the two sides in the 18.4 (112) to 8.17 (65) result.
Shane Edwards was also superb for Richmond, Dion Prestia was prolific and Dylan Grimes made it two from two in is personal duel with Charlie Cameron.
But the Lions had some shining lights of their own. Luke Hodge wound back the clock, Lachie Neale was solid and Cam Rayner took a step forward in the biggest game of his life.
It was Brisbane's first loss in 13 finals here having won 12 as the Lions and two as the Bears and it was also their 14th straight loss to the Tigers.
The Lions must now take the long route if they wish to make their first grand final since 2004, starting with a semi-final here against GWS on Saturday night while the Tigers are just one win away from a return to the MCG on the last Saturday in September.
CHRIS Fagan's biggest wish all week, because it was the great unknown, was for Brisbane to adapt to the occasion and tempo quickly.
Dayne Zorko even said midweek his main task as captain was to help the side settle quickly. The Tigers opened the scoring through a holding the ball decision to Jack Riewoldt on a desperately unlucky Daniel Rich.
Their second was also bad luck when a ricochet off Toby Nankervis from an attempted clearance landed in Dustin Martin's lap. But from theten minute mark Brisbane had the game on their terms.
They were winning the contested footy and dominated the territory battle with a 23-6 inside fifty advantage.
The 12 margin did not accurately reflect their dominance. Last time they met Brisbane could point to Richmond's fast start, which was largely due to the Lions' first term jitters, as the only real differencebetween the two sides.
Sadly, last night they couldn't blame the environment.
Fagan didn't bother to try to hide his disappointment.
"I'm a bit frustrated, I must admit and I'm sure the players are and the coaches are,'' he said.
"If you look at the game on pure numbers, we won a lot of areas tonight.
"Inside 50s, shots on goal we had more of both and didn't come away with a win.''
POOR KICKING COSTLY
GOOD kicking is good football.
If the Lions hope to advance any further this September they must rectify their major failings in the most important skill in the game.
Brisbane probably lost this game because they were destroyed at the stoppages in the third quarter but a close second was their inability to convert long periods of dominance from early in the first quarter until late in the second quarter into scoreboard pressure.
Six shots that should have been regulation for AFL footballers were missed. Had they gone into half time with a five or six goal lead this game might have turned out differently.
VETERAN SHOWS POISE
LUKE Hodge was brought here for his experience and there was no doubt he was the most composed player on the ground for the Lions.
Brisbane conceded when they lured Hodge out of retirement they might occasionally get exposed deep in their back half if opposition's could isolate the four time premiership winner on one of their speedy forwards. But they thought the role he would perform as an on-field general would outweigh that.
But guys like Hodge live for big games and in his first final for Brisbane he found an extra gear.
He is old and slow yet he was the only Lion who managed to win a one-on-one with Dustin Martin and he did it twice.
DUSTIN Martin destroyed Brisbane.
And he didn't need a lot of the footy to do it. He kicked three goals in the third quarter from four touches to rip the game from the Lions' grasp.
He finished the game with 14 touches and six goals straight, with Richmond's 18.4 one of the most accurate displays of kicking in finals history.