Dayne Zorko and Tom Rockliff have inspired Brisbane to their third win of the AFL season, a nailbiting four-point victory over Carlton.
Both players had the ball on a string but it was the damage they did with it – particularly in an awe-inspiring first half from Zorko – that set up the 15.9 (99) to 13.17 (95) result on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba.
It took some late heroics to hold off the gallant Blues, who were 41 points down at one stage but made a dramatic late comeback that threatened to pile further misery on the Lions, with Carlton closing to within three points.
Skipper Rockliff finished with a game-high 39 disposals, 12 tackles and six clearances and, together with former Blue Mitch Robinson (22 disposals, 11 tackles), was everywhere for Brisbane when the game needed to be won.
Zorko kicked three goals, directly set up four others – three of them to forward Michael Close, who finished with a career-best haul of four – and provided 12 inside-50m entries.
He also notched his 100th career goal in the second term and did it in style, crumbing his own spoiled mark and then wheeling onto his right to split the posts from around 45m out.
It all made for sweet relief for the Lions – who had lost their previous two games by a combined 232 points – and for coach Justin Leppitsch, fighting to save his job ahead of an end-of-season review.
For Carlton, who were well-served by Patrick Cripps (11 clearances, eight tackles) and Levi Casboult (four goals), it was a bitter way to cop their ninth defeat in a row.
The Blues kicked the first two goals of the game, but Brisbane responded with nine of the next 11 to take a stranglehold on proceedings.