The Gold Coast Suns will be ruing the one that got away after falling to Queensland state rivals, the Brisbane Lions, by two points on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium.
The Lions have now won four successive Q-Clash encounters after the Suns won the first of the rivalry grudge matches in their opening year in 2011.
Ahead by five goals from skipper, Jonathon Brown, the Lions led for nearly the whole match as the Suns battled valiantly, but struggled to find the goal to give them a scoreboard advantage.
Despite sustaining a minor ankle injury, Charlie Dixon continued his good form leading all comers in hit outs against the much more fancied Matthew Luenberger.
Also continuing on from his impressive showing last weekend against the premiers Sydney Swans, young gun Jaeger O’Meara performed admirably alongside his skipper Gary Ablett (27 disposals) and the Suns’ best player in Harley Bennell (27 disposals and three goals).
The Lions saw Ablett’s 27 touches as a win, paying tribute to tagger Andrew Raines, who grabbed 21 possessions himself, forcing Ablett to defend him.
Another positive was the performance of former Brisbane player, Jarred Brennan, who notched up 30 possessions, 11 of them resulting in centre clearances in arguably his best game for the Suns since relocating from 70km up the Pacific Highway.
Suns coach Guy McKenna remained upbeat about his side’s performance despite the close result. He highlighted the Suns’ ability to peg back leads of 24 points in the third quarter and 15 points late in the fourth quarter, despite having less possession than the Lions. ‘They probably had more of the footy so probably the result we had (was fair),’ he said in the post-match press conference. ‘We had our opportunities of course, but we probably gave them too many opportunities and they took theirs.’
Daniel Rich, who’d had quiet outings in the Lion’s opening two rounds, led the way with 27 touches for the Lions as well as 12 score involvements that proved crucial to the Lions result.
Both sides now sit at one win and two losses after the third round of the 2013 season, with the Suns hosting Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium next Saturday afternoon in another good challenge for the young Gold Coast side.
The final score was Brisbane Lions 13.16. (94) defeating Gold Coast Suns 13. 14. (92).