Eric Hipwood has broken the shackles to kick five goals and lead Brisbane past the Western Bulldogs with an powerful 24-point win at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Hipwood had kicked just 10 goals in the first 10 rounds but was on song from the first quarter as the Lions stormed to a 14.12 (96) to 12.6 (72) victory and move back into second place.
The lanky forward was a match-up nightmare for the Dogs, with recalled defender Ryan Gardner unable to contain him in the air and panicked into giving away free kicks.
While Hipwood shone, he was the beneficiary of some silver service from a Brisbane midfield that outplayed their much-vaunted Bulldogs counterparts.
The on-ball triumvirate of Lachie Neale (36 disposals and 12 clearances), Jarryd Lyons (26 and eight) and Dayne Zorko (24 and nine) had field days, being hugely influential when the game was up for grabs.
A monster grab from Ah Chee! ?? pic.twitter.com/nWpADIz6QC— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) August 8, 2020
Neale strengthened his Brownlow Medal chances with another best on ground performance, adding a goal to his big night, while Lyons got things going in the crucial second quarter.
With the game in the balance, Brisbane ran amok just before half-time, kicking five goals in 10 minutes to surge to a 30-point lead that was never seriously threatened.
It was the third straight loss for the Bulldogs, who now sit outside the top eight with just six rounds remaining.
Jack Macrae (40 disposals and a goal) produced another wonderful performance, while Marcus Bontempelli (30) also tried hard.
One hell of a scare from Charlie
The hearts of the Brisbane coaching staff and every Lions supporter was firmly in their throats for five minutes in the final term when Charlie Cameron limped off with a knee injury. The All Australian forward landed awkwardly in a marking contest and thumped the ground with his fist in frustration as he rolled around holding his left knee. After gingerly jogging off and having it strapped, Cameron returned to the field to huge applause from the 11,061 spectators. He finished the game on the bench with the knee iced.
Ah Chee, Wowee
After a slow start to his Brisbane career, all it took was a change of position to unleash Callum Ah Chee. With Cam Rayner (hamstring) missing, the former Gold Coast utility was moved from his usual half-back position to half-forward, having instant results. He eased Brisbane's nerves after a slow start, cleverly outmarking Tim English and then slotting the Lions' first from a tight angle. He then took a huge overhead mark almost on the goal-line for his second and the home team was away.
On paper this midfield match-up should have been close, but in reality, it wasn't. After the teams shared the clearances eight apiece in the first term, Brisbane steamrolled the Bulldogs in the next two quarters, winning that stat 23-9. More importantly they turned the advantage into goals. Jarryd Lyons (eight clearances) and Dayne Zorko (nine) set up a Hugh McCluggage goal in the second term from a stoppage and the Lions then waltzed the next two centre clearances away and converting them into majors. It was a theme all night.
BRISBANE 3.4 9.8 13.10 14.12 (96)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.1 5.2 8.2 11.6 (72)
Brisbane: Hipwood 5, Ah Chee 2, Bailey 2, McCluggage 2, McStay, Neale, Robinson
Western Bulldogs: Wallis 3, Lloyd 2, Bontempelli, Bruce, Dale, Lipinski, Macrae, Naughton
Brisbane: Neale, Zorko, Hipwood, Lyons, Bailey, McCluggage
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Bontempelli, Wallis, Lipinski
Brisbane: Cameron (knee)
Western Bulldogs: Nil