Missed opportunities and a dominant last quarter from the Suns cost a gallant NEAFL Lions victory at Coorparoo on Saturday morning, going down to their glitter strip rivals 11.12 (78) – 14.12 (96).
The Giffin Park surface, saturated from recent rain, made it a day conducive to turnovers on a hot and humid morning.
The first quarter was one way traffic for the Suns, who kicked their first goal courtesy of a soccerred effort from draftee Peter Wright.
The Lions failed to kick a goal until the last few seconds of the quarter, when poor discipline from the Suns gifted Matthew Hammelmann a 50m penalty and a shot from the goalsquare, which was converted.
Brisbane picked up the pace in the second quarter as they began to move the ball at pace through the centre of the ground, a highlight coming in the form of a gather, fend and goal from Mitch Golby.
The teams went goal for goal in the third stanza, however the Lions squandered several opportunities through inaccurate kicking, holding a slender 5 point lead at the final break.
A final quarter led by a strong marking Peter Wright up forward wrestled the score back in favour of the Suns, who ran out 18-point winners.
The Lions were tough in the clinches, winning the contested possessions (+11), but were left to rue poor disposal.
Zac O’Brien and Tom Cutler used the ball well, whilst former Tiger Luke McGuane provided aggression in the air.
Michael Close presented well up forward, however was denied a glut of majors by the goalposts, hitting the woodwork three times.
Clayton and Hammelmann (both three goals) showed that the Brisbane forward line post-Jonathan Brown is not devoid of options, whilst Jordon Bourke defended with aplomb at the other end.
Academy prospect Reuben William held his own, taking a courageous mark running back with the flight of the ball, colliding heavily with McGuane and Sun Josh Glenn whilst clinging to the Sherrin.
The Suns win was marred by a dislocated knee to young star on the comeback trail Jaeger O’Meara, who was stretchered off in the second quarter.
Jackson Paine left the field in the last quarter holding his right arm, whilst young Sun Leslie was also stretchered off in a neck brace just minutes after O’Meara.
The NEAFL Lions will look to reverse their fortunes next Saturday in their Round 1 encounter with the Southport Sharks at Salk Oval, Palm Beach.
NEAFL LIONS 1.3 5.7 9.12 11.12 (78)
NEAFL SUNS 4.4 5.5 9.7 14.12 (96)
LIONS: Hammelmann 3, Clayton 3, Evans 2, Close, Golby, Cutler.
SUNS: Wright 3, Matera 2, Boston 2, Downie 2, Bowes, Glenn, Budarick, Nicholls, Brooksby.
LIONS BEST: O’Brien, Cutler, Golby, McGuane, Clayton.
LIONS: Paine (arm).
SUNS: O’Meara (knee), Leslie (neck).
Giffin Park, Coorparoo.