It should be Q-Clash week. The first leg of the annual derby double between the two Queensland AFL teams.
Sadly, it won’t happen. Not this week as preparation ramps up for a return to football on June 11.
Instead, we're taking a look back at special moments in a rivalry that is now in its 10th year and identify some of the statistical leaders and oddities of Q-Clash football.
A RECORD Q-CLASH WIN
The last Q-Clash was at the Gabba in August last year. And for Lions fans it was one of the very best as the home side posted a record 91-point win.
With the run to the 2019 finals in full swing, it came on an unusual weekend in the AFL in Round 21. It snowed in the Friday night game between Hawthorn and GWS, North scored their lowest score ever (1-8-14) against Geelong, and the Western Bulldogs kicked 21 unanswered goals to beat Essendon by 104 points.
Four times in the final quarter the margin crept beyond 100 points before two late Suns goals saved them from the ignominy of a 100-point loss.
It was the Lions’ eighth win on the trot as Charlie Cameron kicked a career-best six goals to win the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as Jarryd Lyons enjoyed a big night against his former side, picking up 34 possessions and kicking to goals.
It was the Lions’ biggest win since a 92-point win over GWS in their first meeting in 2012, when Dan Merrett kicked five goals in the first quarter on his to a career-best seven.
Cameron’s six-goal bag was also an equal Q-Clash record, matching Ash McGrath’s six in 2011 and Charlie Dixon’s six for Gold Coast in 2015.
It was Round 7 2011 and while it wasn’t a winning night for the Lions, beaten by eight points after a poor start, it was a moment in history and set the tone for what has become a genuine rivalry.
It was technically a Suns home game, but with the Carrara stadium unavailable it was played at the Gabba on 7 May after a heated build-up in the media in which the two clubs traded barbs.
Lions triple premiership player Simon Black, asked to fire things up a little, had labeled ex-teammates Jared Brennan and Michael Rischitelli “mercenaries” after their defection to the new club and took a swipe at their recruiting concessions.
Lions skipper Jonathan Brown said at the time it was 'personal' because the Lions always stood to lose from the Suns' inclusion in the competition, and Suns coach Guy McKenna said the Suns were "here to clean up the Brisbane Bears' mess".
The Lions went into the match winless against a line-up that was 1-4 after posting their first win two weeks earlier against Port Adelaide in Adelaide, but still Brisbane, with ex-Labrador forward Bryce Retzlaff making his AFL debut, started warm favourites.
After Gold Coast led by 27 points at halftime things hotted up early in the third quarter when David Swallow unintentionally knocked out Andrew Raines.
The incident sparked a lift from the Lions as Ash McGrath, thrown forward by coach Michael Voss at halftime, started to have a real influence.
McGrath kicked three goals in the third quarter and leveled the scores with his fifth 28 minutes into a fourth-quarter that would run nearly 36 minutes.
But Brandon Matera and Liam Patrick replied for the Suns, and McGrath’s sixth came too late. Gold Coast won 18-16 (124) to 17-14 (116).
Brennan, with 30 possessions, 14 clearances and a goal, won the inaugural Marcus Ashcroft medal.
Q-Clash Record Overall
After the Gold Coast’s upset win in Q-Clash #1 the Lions won the next five and have not been headed in the overall head-head-record since. Right now it stands at 12-6 to the Lions. The six-game buffer is a Q-Clash record.
At the Gabba it’s 7-3 to the Lions, and at Metricon Stadium it’s 5-3 to the Lions.
Q-Clash #8 – Leather Poisoning
Former Lions Tom Rockliff and Pearce Hanley, now playing with Port Adelaide and Gold Coast respectively, enjoyed a day out in Q-Clash #8 in Round 18 2014 when they had a staggering 92 possessions between them.
Rockliff, dominating through the midfield, had a Q-Clash record 47 possessions (19 contested) to go with 10 tackles, 11 clearances and one goal as the Lions turned a 7-7 to 1-2 first quarter into a 16-14 (110) to 8-8 (56) win at the Gabba.
Hanley, running off half back, had 45 possessions (11 contested), five tackles, nine clearances, 11 forward 50 entries, two goals and three goal assists.
Q-Clash #11 – The Bump
Brisbane took a 6-4 aggregate record into Q-Clash #11 at the Gabba in Round 4 of 2016 after a Q-Clash cleansweep in 2010.
It was a match remembered for a heavy bump by Gold Coast’s Steven May, now at Melbourne, on Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin. He was knocked unconscious and lay motionless for several minutes on the ground.
It was an incident similar to one in Q-Clash #9 in which May knocked out Brisbane’s Tom Rockliff, earning himself a three-match suspension, and prompted a lift from the Lions after they had been eight points down at halftime.
Five points down with 15 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, they kicked the last three goals via Tom Cutler, Pearce Hanley and Ryan Bastinac and won by 13 points.
The May/Martin incident was sent direct to the tribunal and May was suspended for five matches.
Q-Clash #13 – A Thriller
Chris Fagan coached the Lions for the first time at Metricon Stadium in 2017 in the only Q-Clash played in Round 1. And it was a topsy-turvy thriller and the equal closest finish in Q-Clash history.
The Lions kicked the first seven goals in 17 minutes via Mitch Robinson (2), Michael Close, Eric Hipwood, Dayne Zorko (2) and Tom Bell. They led 7-3 to 2-2 at the first change.
When Daniel Rich kicked the first goal of the second term and Ryan Bastinac added the next two it was Brisbane by a game-high 47 and still 46 at halftime after a late major from Rohan Bewick.
Gold Coast kicked eight goals in the third quarter but three to Brisbane from Ryan Lester, Bastinac and Hipwood meant the visitors were still 17 up at the last change.
It was game on. The Lions didn’t hit the scoreboard until 15 minutes into the last, and by then the Suns had had scoring shots. Scores were lucky, but the early leaders were luck the home side had kicked 2-5 rather than 5-2.
Ben Keays missed a set shot but put the Lions up by a point before a rushed behind made it two.
The time clock was just about to click over 20 minutes when Lewis Taylor accepted a clever handpass from Bell kicked accurately from a tough angle in the pocket.
It turned out to be the winner, but only after a ferocious final nine minutes.
First Tom Lynch missed for the Suns but when he converted another opportunity shortly after it was back to a point. And there was still four minutes to play.
It was frantic. Jake Barrett, in his first game for the Lions after one game with GWS, kicked a hurried point which could have been disastrous because it gave the ball back to the Suns for one last play.
Steven May went long down the middle. Several times looked like the Suns might get out but the tackling was ferocious. And eventually the final siren brought a welcome end.
Dayne Beams, in his first game as Brisbane captain, won the Ashcroft Medal on a countback from Gold Coast counterpart Gary Ablett in what turned out to be Ablett’s last Q-Clash.
Playing their first game for the Suns were ex-Lion Pearce Hanley and future Lion Jarryd Lyons.
Q-Clash #16 – Lesson Learned
There was no more relieved person in Queensland than Lions defender Nick Robertson after his side won Q-Clash #16 at Metricon Stadium in Round 22 2018.
In the lead-up to the match Robertson had labelled Suns players “soft” in a radio interview and said “they take a bit of a backward step when blokes go hard at the football”. In closing, he added: “And I hope they hear that too”.
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan wasn’t impressed, expressing his disappointment and stating clearly that wasn’t how he wanted his players to conduct themselves.
The Lions kicked the first three goals and led at every change before Aaron Young and Alex Sexton goaled for the Suns to put them in front early in the last quarter.
Dayne Beams and Lewis Taylor kicked what proved to be the winning goals despite an inconsequential late major from Jarryd Lyons for the Suns.
Also, it was the match in which Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko and Gold Coast’s Touk Miller clashed heavily. It ended 10-18 (78) to 11-8 (74).
Q-CLASH FOOTBALL BY THE NUMBERS
Q-Clash football is always tough and spirited regardless of the ladder position of the combatants. And inevitably it creates a raft of statistical odds and ends that always makes good reading.
Marcus Ashcroft Medal
Dayne Beams has been a Q-Clash standout, winning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for the player judged best afield three times. Pearce Hanley and Touk Miller have twice won the medal named in honour of the 300-game Brisbane triple premiership player turned inaugural Gold Coast football boss.
Most Q-Clash Games & Goals
Dayne Zorko leads the Lions for games and goals in Q-Clash football with 15 games and 16 goals.
He is second overall in games behind Jarrod Harbrow (17), and heads Pearce Hanley (14), Daniel Rich (14), Tom Rockliff (13), David Swallow (13), Michael Rischitelli (13), Steven May (13), Stefan Martin (12), Ryan Lester (12), Tom Lynch (12), Sam Day (12).
Q-Clash by Age
Luke Hodge became the oldest Lions play to feature in Q-Clash in Round 21 last year. He was 35 years 56 days – almost two years older than Simon Black and Ben Hudson in their last Q-Clash in 2012. Harris Andrews, now a veteran of nine Q-Clashes, remains the youngest Lions player to feature in a Queensland derby. He was 18 years 142 days in Q-Clash 9 in 2014.
Q-Clash by Coach
Chris Fagan will slide to the top of Lions Q-Clash coaching list when the teams meet this year. He, like Michael Voss and Justin Leppitsch, has coached six times in games between the two Queensland clubs. Voss and Fagan have five wins apiece and Leppitsch two.
And the Q-Clash coaching trivia question …. Name the Suns Q-Clash coaches and the number of Q-Clashes they coached.
It is Guy McKenna (6), Rodney Eade (5), Stuart Dew (4) and the one often forgotten … Dean Solomon. The former Essendon and Fremantle defender was caretaker coach in Q-Clash #14 at the Gabba in Round 21 2017 after the exit of Eade. Solomon coached the last three games of the season before Dew took charge in 2018. Eade (3), McKenna (2) and Dew (1) have coached the Suns wins.
And the Q-Clash Captains …
It’s been a revolving day for captains in Q-Clash football, with six Lions and seven Suns doing the job through 18 games.
Jed Adcock, now on the Lions coaching panel, heads the Lions list with four games as solo skipper and two in which he shared the job with Jonathan Brown, who was solo skipper twice. Dayne Zorko has led the side into the Q-Clash four times and Tom Rockliff three times.
Gary Ablett led the Suns eight times in their early days and David Swallow twice last year. In between, they had Tom Lynch and Steven May share the job three times while May did it solo once. Michael Rischitelli, the only player to have played 100 games for both Queensland clubs, was twice the Suns acting captain and Campbell Brown and Dion Prestia acting captain once.