The Brisbane Lions have secured the double chance for the 2023 VFL Finals series after a thrilling two-point win over the Casey Demons in Melbourne on Sunday.
Taking the lead early in the fourth quarter, the Lions clawed their way back from 32-points down mid-way through the second term to take the win 11.14 (80) to the Demons 12.6 (78).
The first term was a quarter of missed opportunity for the Lions booting one goal, four behinds with Wylie Buzza getting the scoring under way with his first of two majors.
The Lions came out firing in the second kicking four goals to two thanks to two from the returning Kai Lohmann, Buzza’s second and Bruce Reville’s first.
The Demons took a seven-point lead into the main break as the ruck battle began to shape as an important one in the context of the match outcome.
Darcy Fort worked hard against Brodie Grundy with 27 hitouts and nine clearances to give the Lions midfield every chance to get first use of the ball from stoppage.
Upon resumption, the game descended into a shootout with the Lions booting four goals to the Demons five in the third term.
The fourth term was played in stark contrast to the third with only two majors kicked, two scores which ultimately determined the outcome of the game.
Smith booted his second while Jimmy Tunstill kicked one of the goals of the year to put the Lions in front, a lead which was never relinquished.
The Lions backline stood tall late in the game with Darcy Gardiner and Prior leading from the front to stonewall any attacking threats from Casey.
The win sees the Lions grab fourth spot on the VFL ladder, securing themselves and double chance and a date with the Gold Coast SUNS in the first week of the 2023 VFL Finals series.
Brisbane 80 def Casey Demons 78
Goals: Smith 2, Buzza 2, Lohmann 2, Reville 2, Tunstill, Fullarton, Cockatoo
Best: Mathieson, Reville, Gardiner, Lohmann, Prior, Sharp