Brisbane has carried its undefeated home-and-away season through to the Grand Final following a 50-point win over Sydney on Sunday afternoon at South Pine Sports Complex.
The Lions will face Southport next week in the big dance as the Lions simply over-powered Sydney 11.16 (82) to 4.8 (32) in the Preliminary Final.
Lions NEAFL coach Mitch Hahn has been happy with his side’s consistency all year, and in tricky circumstances, he was pleased by his troops’ willingness to impact the contest.
“It was really tough conditions,” Hahn told neafl.com.au.
“It was really windy, similar to a wet-weather game which probably brings you back down to the pack.
“(I liked) our ability to win the contested footy, I think we won that by thirty by the end…to get our hands dirty and for the guys to get the job done was absolutely fantastic.”
In the windy affair at South Pine Sports Complex, 23 AFL-listed Lions proved too strong against a brave Sydney outfit fielding 12 listed players to start, to be reduced to 10 by the third quarter as big men Hayden McLean and Joel Amartey were taken from the field following with concussions.
Dominant all day with a game-high 36 disposals, experienced Lion Ryan Bastinac kicked two of the Lions’ three unanswered first term goals, and the maroon, blue and gold continued to reign across the park, restricting Sydney to just four goals for the match and to two until three-quarter-time.
Sam Skinner and Lewis Taylor were lively for their two goals, while Jacob Allison (27 disposals, five rebounds) and Josh Walker (26 disposals, 11 marks) lead a successful team defence all afternoon.
For the losing side, first-year Swan Justin McInerney was superb in his side’s performance, with the Northern Knights product gathering 10 rebound 50s amongst his team-high 19 touches and Swans Academy member Kyle Martin yielded two of his side’s three goals.
A Swans win would have seen a replay of the 2018 Grand Final, where Sydney suffered their third consecutive NEAFL Grand Final loss to the Sharks at Fankhauser Reserve.
The Lions will play for their second premiership in three years next week, the first coming in the famous 2017 Grand Final win over Sydney, where homegrown forward Ben Keays won best on ground honours.
Hahn is looking forward to the great opportunity a grand final berth will provide his players, though the match will no doubt prove a challenge for all, coaches included.
“It’s going to be a really tough,” Hahn said of team selection this week.
“They (Southport) have got stars all over the park.
“They’ve got a lot of talent and we saw that against Aspley yesterday with their ability to out-muscle and outplay and have a better skill level than the opposition."
NEAFL Preliminary Final 1
Brisbane Lions v Sydney Swans at South Pine Sports Complex
BRISBANE 3.5 5.7 8.12 11.16 (82)
SYDNEY 0.1 1.6 2.7 4.8 (32)
Brisbane: R Bastinac 2 S Skinner 2 L Taylor 2 J Allison T Cutler T Fullarton B Keays R Mathieson.
Sydney: K Martin 2 M Rossmann C Hirst.
Brisbane: R Bastinac E Smith J Walker J Payne R Mathieson J Allison.
Sydney: J McInerney J Bell J Rose D Cameron T Pink.