The Brisbane Lions climbed off the bottom of the AFL ladder after claiming an upset eight-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The Lions’ second victory on the trot and their third of 2014 saw them move above St Kilda and Greater Western Sydney, with the Giants dropping to last spot after a home loss to Essendon.
The Lions broke the game open with a seven-goals-to-two second quarter and went on to win 14.11(95) to 13.9 (87).
After trailing by 28 points at three-quarter time, the Bulldogs had the best of the last term without ever really looking likely to snatch the victory.
Livewire Josh Green, key forward Jonathan Brown and the impressive Jack Redden kicked two goal apiece for Brisbane.
Third-string Lions ruckman Stefan Martin also played a key role in his first senior game of 2014, stepping up in the absence of injured duo Trent West and Matthew Leuenberger to have the best of his battle with last year’s All Australian ruckman Will Minson.
The Western Bulldogs’ better players included skipper Ryan Griffen and young gun Jack Macrae.
The Bulldogs bolted out of the blocks and had the first goal of the match on the board within 19 seconds through Nathan Hrovat, who was celebrating his 20th birthday.
The home side had the better of the the opening term, only for the Lions to kick the last two goals to get the margin back to six points at the first change.
Brisbane took that momentum into the second quarter, running the Bulldogs ragged as they piled on seven goals to two to take a commanding 27-point lead at the long break.
Redden kicked two important second-quarter goals, while Dayne Zorko provided plenty of midfield dash.
The third quarter was more of a stalemate, with Green’s important late goal ensuring the visitors went into three quarter-time ahead by 28 points.
Green was Brisbane’s only goalscorer of a tight final term, but importantly the Lions were able to hold the surging Bulldogs to four goals at the other end.