The 2023 Smithy’s VFL season came to end for the Brisbane Lions on Saturday at the hands of Werribee in the Preliminary Final.

Travelling to Avalon Airport Oval, the Lions faced the tough task of tackling a Werribee side who had not lost a game since Round 5.

Werribee shot out to an early lead booting the first three goals of the game with the home side moving the ball swiftly from the back half never relinquishing running out 14.10 (94) to 9.10 (64) winners.

Harry Sharp, who was strong for the Lions all day, opened their account in the 23rd minute with a solid pack mark and set shot.

The Lions only trailed by 11 points at quarter time after Werribee got on top in the midfield and with their potency inside forward 50.

Henry Smith booted the first goal of the second term as the Lions closed to within a kick.

Both sides traded majors with Kyle Dunkley ensuring the Lions kept pace with Werribee.

The Lions dominated the inside 50 count but were unable to make headway on the scoreboard and were punished in the last 10 minutes as Werribee piled on three goals.

Trailing by 23 points at half time, the Lions rued missed chances going forward as Werribee’s defence proved hard to crack.

The Lions came out firing in the third quarter but were once again unable to make it count on the scoreboard kicking five behinds before booting a major.

Jaxon Prior kicked a goal from 55 metres out to bring life to the Lions and cut the margin.

Prior was a shining light for the Lions, collecting 22 touches and seven marks.

Both sides traded goals in the third term with Darryl McDowell-White booting Brisbane’s fifth major.

Two late goals from Werribee pushed the margin back out to an unassailable 32 points.

Needing a comeback for the ages, the Lions started the fourth quarter all guns blazing.

Three goals inside the first eight minutes brought life into the game, Darcy Fort, Rhys Mathieson and a long bomb from Tahj Abberley gave the Lions a chance.

Werribee was able to wrestle back momentum and kicked away seal the win.

Bruce Reville was another strong performer for the Lions with 20 disposals, seven marks and his ball use going forward.

Final Score

Werribee 94 def Brisbane 64

Goals: Smith, Sharp, Prior, McDowell-White, Mathieson, Fort, Dunkley, Coleman, Abberley

Best: Tunstill, Reville, Prior, Joyce, Sharp, Rich