Gold Coast have all but consigned rivals Brisbane to the AFL’s wooden spoon with a 14-point victory in Saturday’s Q-Clash at the Gabba.
The Suns were locked in a see-sawing battle with the Lions on Saturday until a four-goal burst in the third quarter broke open the game and allowed the visitors to book their third win for the year.
The 17.12 (114) to 14.16 (100) result is the closest in a Q-Clash for nearly three seasons, but leaves Brisbane with only one more realistic chance to move from the bottom of the ladder – next weekend’s home clash with Carlton, who sit one game and percentage ahead of the Lions.
In-form Suns forward Tom Lynch kicked five goals to claim the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best afield, edging out teammate Aaron Hall, who was incredible with 28 touches, eight inside 50s and five tackles.
Also impressive for Gold Coast was young midfielder Jesse Lonergan and backman Kade Kolodjashnij, while the out-of-contract Charlie Dixon booted three majors.
Captain Tom Rockliff (32 disposals) and Pearce Hanley (31) led the way for Brisbane but, despite turning in a vastly improved performance, they were unable to topple their injury-wrecked rivals, who slumped to an 11th straight defeat.
There was little separating the teams through the first two-and-a-half quarters with the lead changing hands a dozen times as Brisbane and Gold Coast, so poor throughout the year, clearly lifted for the derby encounter in front of 19,920 supporters.
But Brisbane’s resolve was finally shattered as Lynch, Brandon Matera, Dixon and Nick Malceski booted consecutive goals for Gold Coast in a match-defining nine-minute stretch.
The Lions never gave up and closed to within two straight kicks in the final quarter, but the Suns were able to quickly and safely snuff out their late attempt at a comeback.