Brisbane’s long kicking proved decisive in ending their silverware drought by winning the final AFLX tournament in Sydney.
The Lions defeated Sydney 67-41 in the grand final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday in front of 9892 fans in line with the AFL’s expectations, albeit it was the lowest attendance of three tournaments over as many days.
Brisbane and Sydney (both 2-0) topped their respective pools.
Reigning AFL premiers Richmond finished with a 1-1 record and were shaded 66-61 by Brisbane, having beaten Greater Western Sydney 49-34.
Brisbane defeated GWS 64-58 in their second pool game.
Sydney reached the decider by beating the Western Bulldogs Bulldogs 88-36 and Gold Coast 72-41.
The Swans competition record score, which included three 10-point goals from defender Dane Rampe, beat the 83 tallied by North Melbourne on Friday. But it was later equalled by Gold Coast who swamped the inexperienced Bulldogs 87-22.
Daniel Rich, Tom Cutler and Zac Bailey had Brisbane off to a flying start in the decider, kicking 10-pointers as they charged to a 34-2 lead and were up 34-8 at halftime.
Another long-distance bomb then put the Lions up 44-8 and while Sydney got to within 16 after 10-point goals to James Rose and Dean Towers, Brisbane steadied to earn the win.
Brisbane’s Allen Christensen revealed looking for 10-point goals had been a central part of their strategy.
“We definitely spoke about it that if we got the chance to kick the 10s we’ll take them, we had some nice long kicks in our team,” Christensen said.
It was the first piece of silverware for the Lions since the last of their three premierships in 2003.
“It’s a little stepping stone to where we want to head as a football club,” Christensen said.
“We haven’t had a winning culture so it doesn’t matter if it’s this or the JLT or the premiership proper, we want to win as many games as we can.”
Sydney coach John Longmire said his players were “buggered” but he was philosophical about the short break between their second pool game and the grand final.
“That’s okay, there’s a few things that they need to look at but that’s alright,” he said.
“The whole purpose of it is to trial a few things and see what they need to adjust and work on for next time.”