The Brisbane Lions are the 2019 NEAFL premiers after a 76-point victory over reigning champions Southport gave the Lions a flawless 20-win, zero loss season.
The Lions were just too good in the 20.15 (135) to 8.11 (59) victory at Fankhauser Reserve to cap off a record-breaking season.
Premiership coach Mitch Hahn was jovial with his side’s season-long effort, and ability to put it together on the big stage.
“(It was a) fantastic performance,” Hahn told neafl.com.au.
“To go through a season undefeated doesn’t happen very often. It’s a credit to the whole Brisbane Lions football club for what we’ve been able to achieve this year, the players that played today did a fantastic job, so I’m just really proud to be standing here.”
‘The Recruit,’ Matt Eagles was deservedly awarded the Andrew Ireland Medal for his best-on-ground performance with 21 disposals, eight marks and five rebound 50s in a classy demolition of Southport’s big forwards.
The six-goal to one opening term in the Lions’ favour set the scene for Brisbane to display the dominant brand of football they’ve showcased all season, with the margin failing to dip below four goals after quarter-time.
The second and third terms for their minor premiers yielded 12 goals and conceded just three, as the experienced Brisbane outfit seemingly locked away the club’s third NEAFL premiership before half-time.
A four-goal to two final term was mounted by the black and white, but it was too little, too late for an exhausted Southport line-up.
Stellar Lions Ben Keays and Cedric Cox added four goals apiece to their tallies for 2019 and were serviced beautifully by Corey Lyons (35 disposals, six inside 50s) and Rhys Mathieson (27 disposals, nine clearances, seven inside 50s).
Many held fears over the Lions ability to win without six of their listed players, but their Academy players certainly stepped up with Justin Currie and Darcy Marsh impressing with their run and carry.
“They played their role,” said Hahn.
“They were fantastic; especially when they haven’t played in three weeks like some of them. We’re really proud that they took their opportunity and will take this experience through the rest of their lives.”
Southport hero Andrew Boston’s 34 disposals, six tackles and one goal was the sole shining light for the Sharks, in a game that did not reflect the true spirit the Sharks had shown in 2019.
Before 2019, no side had ever won more than 15 consecutive games, let alone 20 as this season saw the Lions become a record-breaking NEAFL club on a number of levels.
2019 NEAFL Grand Final
Brisbane Lions v Southport Sharks at Fankhauser Reserve
BRISBANE 6.3 13.5 18.12 20.15 (135)
SOUTHPORT 1.1 4.3 4.6 8.11 (59)
GOALS – Brisbane: C Cox 4 B Keays 4 L Taylor 3 S Skinner 2 N Cumberland 2 T Cutler 2 C Ballenden R Bastinac R Mathieson. Southport: M Johnson 3 M Manteit A Boston L Dale T Fields D Fyfe.
BEST – Brisbane: M Eagles L Taylor R Bastinac C Lyons B Keays T Cutler. Southport: A Boston M Shaw R Davis T Fields R Clark.
NEAFL Premiers 2019!— Lions NEAFL (@LionsNEAFL) September 15, 2019
A complete team performance, after an undefeated season. The NEAFL Lions 20.15 (135) defeat the Southport Sharks 8.11 (59) by 76 points. pic.twitter.com/9sbMQDiUmo