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Maturing Lions hold on in a thriller against Roos

If Lachie Neale wasn't the first Brisbane Lions player that Lions coach Chris Fagan embraced on Sunday afternoon, then he should have been.

The former Docker and now the Lions star almost single-handedly powered the Lions to their 20-point win over the Roos at Marvel Stadium.

The midfielder finished the game with 43 disposals in a brilliant and consistent showing, but was the most influential player on the ground in the last quarter with things up for grabs.

On the back of their demolition of reigning premiers West Coast in Round 1, the win was another sign the Lions are a side on the rise.

It was also a win full of character, as they came back from a 22-point deficit midway through the third term and also fell behind again in the last term.

Neale was one of many key players.

Daniel Rich was excellent off half-back with 27 disposals, Hugh McCluggage lifted in the last quarter and finished with 24 touches, Jarrod Berry was strong with 23 and Charlie Cameron booted four important goals.

It was a miserable end for North Melbourne, despite a better performance than their limp round-one showing against Fremantle.

Shaun Higgins had 38 disposals in the midfield alongside partner Ben Cunnington (36 disposals), while new recruits Jared Polec (23 disposals and two goals) and Aaron Hall (26 and one goal) proved their worth with plenty of dash.

North's improved intent after last week's thrashing to Fremantle was clear early. The Roos were physical and moved the ball with purpose, with Polec's long goal from the boundary line helping them to a 14-point lead at the first change.

The Lions' sloppiness continued to be an issue in the second term, despite dominating for periods of the quarter, but North's midfield dominance was crucial, with the Kangaroos creating more run and carry and having a forward half that was organised and in sync.

The Roos extended their lead to the game-high 22 points midway through the term when debutant and late inclusion Tarryn Thomas booted his first AFL goal.

It clicked the Lions into gear, with towering forward Oscar McInerney taking three contested marks and booting two goals to spark his side.

They booted four straight goals to end the term, with Cameron's major 10 seconds before the three-quarter time siren putting the Lions two points ahead and with all the momentum.  

The Roos looked to have stunted by hitting the scoreboard early in the final term, but the Lions charged home, with Cameron kicking another two late in the piece to seal the win away from home.   

MEDICAL ROOM
North Melbourne: Marley Williams hobbled off the field with an ankle concern early in the last term.

Brisbane: Dan McStay and Cam Rayner required treatment in the third term after separate heavy collisions, however both returned to the field and played out the game.

NEXT UP

Brisbane hosts the also unbeaten Port Adelaide next Saturday night at the Gabba.

Get your tickets to Round 3 now!

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs