The Brisbane Lions were irresistible at times, sloppy at others but completed a victory over the Fremantle Dockers at the Gabba on Sunday night.
A five-goal opening term gave the Lions the advantage and they held control of the contest for the rest of the match as the ball-moving prowess of Daniel Rich (31 disposals), Jarryd Lions (30 disposals) and Zac Bailey and their potent forward line kept the scoreboard ticking over.
This wasn’t a sparkling display from the Lions but in a hectic, exhausting season there is value in a win where the team could work at a brisk pace plus have a few laughs while collecting the four points, and to do so without the injured Lachie Neale adds to the value.
Fremantle did cut the lead to 24 points late on but the result was an honest reflection of their current standing. They are a middle-of-the-road team with old stars, young talent and a very thin middle.
Nat Fyfe, David Mundy and Michael Walters are still among their best few players, while Caleb Serong, Sean Darcy, Tobe Watson and Andrew Brayshaw look to have promising futures.
Outside of that group, James Aish, Matt Taberner, Michael Hastings and Nathan Wilson are all performing solidly, while most other positions in the side are up for grabs.
That inconsistency was reflected in this match as the Lions could stream quality players through every line on the field and the Dockers could only move when their old stars moved forward or their young stars could link together.
Lions defender Harris Andrews was too strong at the back, their midfield runners were powerful through the middle corridor or the wings and then Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood were causing trouble up forward.
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