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NEAFL Match Report: v Southport Sharks

Jess Webster, NEAFL Media  April 16, 2017 9:58 AM

Ryan Harwood and Jono Freeman celebrate a goal against Southport Sharks at South Pine (Photo: TJ Yelds).

Ryan Harwood and Jono Freeman celebrate a goal against Southport Sharks at South Pine (Photo: TJ Yelds).

Brisbane Lions have soared to a 3-0 start to the NEAFL season for the first time since 2013 after overrunning Southport by 59 points at South Pine Sports Complex on Saturday.

The Sharks were gallant for three quarters before fading in the last, as the Lions took full advantage to win 14.19 (103) 6.8 (44).

With 21 AFL-listed players taking to the field, Brisbane’s defensive pressure and fitness proved too strong for the Sharks as they maintain their place as equal first on the ladder.

Coach Mitch Hahn said it’s a confidence-boost to begin the season strongly, but they wasted more opportunities in attack than they would have liked.

“It’s a fantastic effort to be 3-0, it’s been a long time since the Lions have been able to be in that position,” he said.

“It’s a credit to the players and our medical staff for our ability to have 21 AFL-listed players out there today.

“We were pleased we were happy to get the victory, we probably wasted some opportunities, and the scoreboard reflected that.

“We had a young group and we expect that, and we know it’s going to be an education for them going forward.”

Michael Close had the Lions on the board within the first five minutes, but the Sharks responded through debutant Terry Giacoumis, who bagged his first goal with his first possession.

A late Matt Hammelmann goal approaching quarter-time edged the Lions 13-points clear, but Southport went toe-to-toe with their rivals in the second.

They twice cut the margin to eight points until the Lions kicked three of the last four of the quarter to open up a 23-point advantage.

Neither side could wrestle momentum in the third as only a goal apiece was scored, keeping the Sharks in the contest at the last change.

But the Lions had too much run in the last, booting 5.9 to 0.2 to run out convincing winners.

It was the second week in a row Southport has been held goalless in the last term, and coach Nathan Bock says it’s an area of concern in the early stages of the season.

“Obviously it was pretty disappointing, given the fact for the majority of the day we were in the contest,” he said.

“It was possibly an improvement on last week, but we are under no illusions that we have a lot of work to do.”

Liam Dawson was terrific the Lions with 31 disposals, 17 marks seven inside 50s and six rebound 50s, while Ryan Harwood booted a game-high three goals among 28 disposals.

Sharks midfielder Jordan Keras produced another best-on-ground performance for his side, collecting 29 disposals and five clearances. Andrew Boston was also handy with 22 disposals and 10 rebound 50s.

Brisbane will take on Gold Coast in a tantalizing clash at Metricon Stadium next week, while Southport will host Canberra at Fankhauser Reserve.

Brisbane Lions v Southport Sharks at South Pine Sports Complex

BRISBANE 4.4 8.8 9.10 14.19 (103)
2.3 5.3 6.6 6.8 (44)

GOALS – Brisbane: R Harwood 3 J Barrett 2 O McInerney 2 M Close 2 A Christensen A Smith J Freeman M Hammelmann B Keays. Southport: M Fowler 2 H Shepheard 2 T Giacoumis F Thurlow.

BEST – Brisbane: L Dawson R Harwood A Witherden A Smith J Barrett A Christensen. Southport: J Keras F Thurlow M Fowler S Tape H Shepheard A Boston.

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