Fremantle breaks 15-year Gabba hoodoo
Brisbane Lions 5.2 6.4 10.7 15.10 (100)
Fremantle 5.5 9.9 12.15 15.23 (113)
Brisbane Lions: Fevola 3, Banfield 2, Black 2, Brown, Drummond, McGrath, Rich, Rischitelli, Rockliff, Sherman, Stiller.
Fremantle: Pavlich 3, Johnson 2, Haselby 2, Ballantyne 2, Barlow, Fyfe, Mayne, Morabito, Palmer, Sandilands.
Brisbane Lions: Black, Rischitelli, McGrath, Staker, Power, Sherman
Fremantle: Hill, Mundy, Tarrant, McPharlin, Barlow, Pavlich, Ballantyne
Brisbane Lions: Patfull, Drummond (knee), Brennan (ankle)
Umpires: Nicholls, McInerney, Mollison
Official crowd: 27,739 at the Gabba
FREMANTLE withstood a courageous Brisbane Lions comeback to break a 15-year hoodoo and win by 13 points at the Gabba on Saturday night.
The visitors won 15.23 (113) to 15.10 (100) but not before the Lions reduced a 26-point lead to just six points in an exhilarating final quarter.
Not only did the Lions lose the match, but they also lost stars Jared Brennan (ankle) and Josh Drummond (knee) to what looked like serious injuries.
Both hobbled off during the third quarter and did not return.
The Lions lost Joel Patfull before the match and were also without Matt Maguire (suspended), Daniel Merrett and Mitch Clark (injured).
But Fremantle deserved their win and only their poor kicking kept the Lions in the match for much of the night.
Captain Matthew Pavlich was a guilty party, finishing with 3.4, but he was a star for his team whether up forward or in the middle.
Stephen Hill was all class in the middle, while Chris Tarrant and Luke McPharlin wore respective opponents Jonathan Brown (one goal) and Brendan Fevola (three) like gloves.
Freo led at every change and their slick ball movement was a feature in the first three terms before the Lions made a trademark final-term surge.
Simon Black, with 36 disposals and two goals, was close to best on ground in a losing team, while Michael Rischitelli also tried hard.
The 27,739-strong crowd was brought to life in the final term when Cheynee Stiller, Fevola, Todd Banfield and Ash McGrath kicked consecutive goals to give the Lions a chance.
Freo’s win keeps its top four hopes well and truly alive ahead of coming matches against Collingwood and the Swans, while the Lions have now lost three on the trot.
Lions coach Michael Voss would not have been happy with his side’s discipline in the first quarter, with Freo’s first two goals coming courtesy of 50m penalties.
Tom Rockliff and Luke Power were the culprits, while a trainer running across the mark also conceded a 50m penalty and a goal later in the match.