Collingwood too good for Brisbane in scrappy affair at Gabba

Collingwood has consigned Brisbane Lions to their worse start to an AFL season in six years.

Collingwood has consigned Brisbane Lions to their worse start to an AFL season in six years. Photo: Getty

Collingwood has revived its AFL season and sent Brisbane Lions’ further south with a 20-point win in a scrappy, fluctuating grand final rematch at the Gabba.

The Magpies were kept scoreless in the second term but weren’t made to pay and the premiers roared back to win 14.8 (92) to 10.12 (72), improving to 3-1 on Thursday night.

Brisbane, who lost by four points to Collingwood at the MCG decider last year, are now 0-3 in their worst start since they lost their first eight games in 2018.

Unbeaten at the Gabba last year, the Lions are 0-2 at the venue in 2024.

History is still against both sides, North Melbourne in 1975 the last team to start 0-3 and win the flag.

Brody Mihoceck (three goals), Jamie Elliot (four) and Bobby Hill (three) dangerous while Jack Crisp’s long-range effort out of a pack, against the flow, helped extinguish Brisbane’s final-quarter charge.

Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury, who has avoided suspension in 387 games, will face scrutiny after his open-handed slap to the stomach of Lachie Neale left the Lions co-captain doubled over in pain.

Last year’s Norm Smith Medallist Hill tormented the Brisbane defence again in the first quarter in front of a full house of 34,022 fans.

Both sides were error-riddled, dropping simple marks and missing targets in borderline comical scenes given the quality of their last encounter.

The Magpies’ speed told though, their ball movement too slick and direct as Hill popped up for three of five goals as the visitors threatened to tear the game open.

Dayne Zorko’s (30 disposals) lone hand showed the way though and senior teammates Hugh McCluggage and Neale (35 touches, 10 clearances) responded with powerful second quarters to help turn the tide.

McCluggage (29 disposals) had nine touches and Neale five clearances in the one-sided term, Neale booting an early goal in his return from a hamstring injury.

They kept coming but couldn’t take a mark, a 21-2 inside-50 count a reflection of their dominance as the Magpies were kept scoreless.

But the Lions didn’t hit the lead – Neale’s the only Brisbane mark inside 50 until late in the half – until Cam Rayner’s goal on the siren.

Collingwood rediscovered their run after the break, Nick Daicos (30 touches) emerging as a game-breaker as they built a 20-point margin at the final break.

The hosts kicked the first two of the final term to get within nine before Crisp’s effort, Elliot and Mihocek icing the contest as Lions fans headed for the exits with almost 10 minutes still to play.


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