Powerful Lions target top four finish after sinking Port

The red-hot Brisbane Lions have their eyes firmly set on a top-four berth with an impressive 48-point win over an undisciplined, out-of-control Port Adelaide.

The Power’s premeditated ploy of beating up Lachie Neal, the Lions’ No.1 player, at every opportunity backfired spectacularly early as the Lions refused to be intimidated, instead replying in clinical, scoreboard-crunching fashion.

Centurion: Charlie Cameron, in his 100th game for Brisbane, powers past Port’s Steven Motlop.Credit:AAP

Having lost the plot from the outset, Port’s horror afternoon took a sour turn when Ryan Burton injured his troublesome right hamstring while trying to chase down Brisbane speedster Charlie Cameron.

Recruit Lincoln McCarthy, fresh off a breakout performance against GWS, jagged two goals in the opening term, sandwiching Cameron’s left-footy beauty from the pocket named after his one-time mentor, Eddie Betts.

When Alex Witherdon converted a free for Brisbane’s fourth straight, Port were still yet to register their first mark or inside-50, instead undone by a pair of 50-metre penalties conceded by ex-Lion Tom Rockliff and Dougal Howard, Neale absorbing plenty of heavy punishment.

Dayne Zorko’s pick up and snap, after he had hustled Cam Sutcliffe off the footy, followed by Mitch Robinson’s goal following an impressive gut run from defence made it seven unanswered before Port, piloted intelligently by Travis Boak, finally started concentrating on the ball and belatedly got on the board through Riley Bonner.

On the up: Allen Christensen at full stretch for the Lions.Credit:AAP

Brisbane extended their 30-point quarter-time advantage to 44 at half-time as Neale,
quiet early as a result of Port’s physical approach, came into his own and joined Jarryd Lyons and Zorko in controlling the midfield battle.

Charlie Dixon goaled in the first 20 seconds of the third term and back-to-back majors to Robbie Gray and Zak Butters — a magnificent boundary-line snap — reduced the margin to 33 points.

But Port’s comeback would be short-lived, Cam Rayner missing a sitter before slotting a left-foot cracker to put the contest well beyond the Power who, after obliterating Adelaide in last week’s Showdown, maintained their peerless ability to confound their supporters with their week-to-week, yo-yo form.

For all of Port’s plastic bluster, the day belonged to the Lions who, without Eric Hipwood (knee),
Luke Hodge (managed) and late withdrawal Hugh McCluggage (hamstring tightness), were resplendent.

Spoiler: Oscar McInerney smothers a kick from Port’s Robbie Gray.Credit:AAP

‘‘We’ll try to terrorise Lachie, I reckon,’’ Power coach Ken Hinkley said moments before the match. ‘‘Suts (Sutcliffe) is here to do that job and he’s going to have first crack.’’

Sutcliffe, Port’s SANFL captain and picked up by the Power in May’s mid-season rookie draft, was called up for his first AFL appearance of 2019 and went straight to Neale at the opening bounce.

Sutcliffe was in Neale’s wedding party while the pair were former team-mates at Fremantle but there was no love between them yesterday.

Unfortunately Sutcliffe and the Power spent far too much time focusing on roughing up Neale at the expense of concentrating on the job at hand.

Before Port could blink, the Lions had seven goals on the board and Fox Footy’s David King declared: ‘‘The reason they (Power) haven’t kicked a goal is because they’ve lost complete focus. They’re going after Lachie Neale at every opportunity and that’s why it’s seven goals to nil on the scoreboard.’’

PORT ADELAIDE 2.1 3.4 6.4 6.13 (49)
BRISBANE 7.1 10.6 12.12 14.13 (97)

GOALS – Port Adelaide: S.Gray 2, Bonner, Dixon, R.Gray, Butters
Brisbane: Cameron 4, Zorko 3, McCarthy 2, Witherden, Lyons, Robinson, Bailey, Rayner

BEST – Port Adelaide: Wines, Boak, R. Gray, S. Gray, Jonas, Byrne-Jones.
Brisbane: Lyons, Zorko, Neale, Cameron, Rich, McCarthy.

INJURIES – Port Adelaide: Dan Houston (virus) replaced in selected side by Sam Powell-Pepper, Burton (hamstring)
Brisbane: Hugh McCluggage (hamstring tightness) replaced in selected side by Ben Keays,

Reports: Nil
Umpires: Hay, Meredith, Ryan
Crowd: 33,118 at Adelaide Oval

Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane) 8
Dayne Zorko (Brisbane) 8
Ollie Wines (Port Adelaide) 7
Lachie Neale (Brisbane) 7
Charlie Cameron (Brisbane) 7

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