An impressive first-half display from Melbourne set up their 24-point win over Brisbane at the MCG on Sunday.
The Demons dropped away sharply in a second half in which they managed just one goal but hung on for the 8.12 (60) to 4.12 (36) win.
In a scrappy, error-riddled contest that reflected the lowly ladder positions of the two sides, Brisbane were held to their lowest first-half score of the season.
The Lions actually got off to a reasonable start and led when Dayne Zorko danced around a pack and slotted a goal nine minutes in but that would be their only major in a listless half of footy.
Melbourne, so disappointing in last week’s loss to injury-ravaged Essendon, were positively ferocious in comparison.
Bernie Vince and Jack Viney did the heavy lifting at the stoppages for the Demons, while Jesse Hogan was a powerful presence inside 50 with three goals in the first quarter.
Melbourne led by 26 points at quarter-time and, while the scoring slowed in the second term, they still looked on course for a handsome win, up by 38 points at the main break.
But as has so often been the case in recent years, the Demons went missing for a quarter.
The Lions lost Pearce Hanley to injury at halftime, but led by by Dayne Beams and Zorko, they pushed back at Melbourne with an intensity that was sadly lacking before the break.
Goals to Mitch Robinson and Harris Andrews narrowed the gap and suddenly the Demons looked much less assured with the ball in hand.
Allen Christensen, one of few Lions of influence in the first half, brought the margin back to 20 points with the first goal of the final term, which might have been enough to send Melbourne into complete meltdown in recent times.
But while it was far from convincing, Paul Roos’s men held their nerve in the face of the challenge, with Hogan soothing frayed nerves with his fourth goal of the game.