BRISBANE has moved a step closer to securing a top-four berth and the all-important double chance with a 48-point win over a lacklustre Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
The Lions got off to a blistering start and were never headed on their way to a 14.13 (97) to 6.13 (49) win.
The result lifts Brisbane up to third spot, equal on points with Collingwood (second) and West Coast (fourth), and importantly one win ahead of fifth-placed Richmond.
The loss was compounded for Port Adelaide by a hamstring injury to defender Ryan Burton who pinged his right hamstring while chasing Charlie Cameron in the third quarter.
Jarryd Lyons led from the front for Brisbane with 36 possessions (17 contested), nine clearances, five inside 50s, nine tackles and one goal. Despite receiving close attention from mid-season draftee Cam Sutcliffe, Lachie Neale was also strong at close quarters with 24 disposals (17 contested) and 10 clearances.
Captain Dayne Zorko was at his dynamic best with 24 touches and three goals, while Cameron kicked four goals in game 100.
For Port, Travis Boak was at his hard-nosed best with 32 possessions (18 contested), seven clearances and six inside 50s, while Robbie Gray (32 disposals and one goal) and co-captain Ollie Wines (32 touches and seven clearances) were also prolific.
But despite winning the possession count 386 to 333, the home team lacked their usual dynamism with the Power managing just the six goals from 54 inside 50s.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley let it be known in the lead-up to the game that Neale would be the subject of some physical attention, and it wasn’t just former Docker teammate Sutcliffe who terrorised the star Lion with Tom Rockliff and Dougal Howard conceding 50 metre penalties for off-the-ball contact on Neale in the opening term, resulting in a goal to Alex Witherden.
Port were so consumed with taking Neale out of the game that they forgot about winning the football, with Brisbane obliterating the Power at the coalface and moving the football with pace as they piled on the first seven majors of the contest.
Port Adelaide tightened things up in the contested possession stakes in the latter stages of the quarter and enjoyed a period of territorial dominance, but the harsh reality was that they were staring down the barrel of a 30-point deficit.
Port continued to hold their own at the clinches, but Brisbane looked far more damaging on the periphery and went into the main break with a commanding 44-point lead.
In desperate need of a spark, the Power got the start to the second half that they were looking for with key forward Charlie Dixon producing a magnificent strike early in the third term.
Classy goals to Gray and emerging talent Zak Butters saw Port Adelaide close to within 33 points at the 13-minute mark, but it would prove to be as close as Port would get with Brisbane’s superb pressure stifling the Power’s run.
While the Lions are now in the premiership conversation, Port Adelaide are the most difficult team in the competition to get a read on.
Port looked like genuine flag contenders in wins over League-leader Geelong (nine points) and Adelaide (57) in recent weeks, but the gap between their best and worst is far too great with the men from Alberton having gone win-loss for the eighth consecutive week.
Given Port Adelaide’s level of inconsistency, September action appears to be nothing more than a pipe dream.
Brisbane will look to make it five wins on the bounce when they take on North Melbourne at the Gabba on Saturday night, while Port Adelaide have the enormous challenge of trying to account for an in-form Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.
PORT ADELAIDE: 2.1 3.4 6.4 6.13 (49)
BRISBANE: 7.1 10.6 12.12 14.13 (97)
PORT ADELAIDE: S. Gray 2, Bonner, Dixon, R. Gray, Butters
BRISBANE: Cameron 4, Zorko 3, McCarthy 2, Witherden, Lyons, Robinson, Bailey, Rayner
PORT ADELAIDE: Boak, Wines, R. Gray, Byrne-Jones, S. Gray
BRISBANE: Lyons, Zorko, Cameron, Neale, Rich, Robinson, Andrews
PORT ADELAIDE: Houston (virus) replaced in selected team by Powell-Pepper, Burton (hamstring)
BRISBANE: McCluggage (hamstring) replaced in selected team by Keays
ATTENDANCE: 33,118 at Adelaide Oval