Improving Lions show new-found fortitude
TWO and zero and a share of the top of the ladder.
Oscar, Lachie, Charlie and Mitch are the names that tell the story of Brisbane's 20-point victory over the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
Lachie Neale finished with 43 possessions and Charlie Cameron is staking an early claim for an All Australian jumper with a four-goal haul to go with the three from last week.
Oscar McInerny had a third quarter reminiscent of Collingwood's Mason Cox in last year's preliminary final while Mitch Robinson did what he does best - put doubt into an opponent's mind with his ferocity.
But it is the Lions' ability to win the sort of game they would previously have lost, and thus register their best start to a season since 2010 that tells the story of the rebuild of this club.
That was the Brendan Fevola year. The Lions had played their first finals series since the run of four straight grand finals between 2001 and 2004 the previous year and the club felt it was a handful of recruits away from a flag.
However, the year that started with a bang ended with self-combustion.
This feels totally different. And the latest batch of recruits are a key reason why.
The Lions were behind 22 points in the third term on Sunday and fell behind again in the final term.
These were the games they have previously lost under Chris Fagan. Six times last year they went down by seven points or less.
"You add guys like Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons, Lincoln McCarthy and Charlie Cameron, who was out for the second half of last year when a lot of those close losses were happening, they are the sort of experienced guys that can stand up.
"And they all did today at important parts of the game.''
Fagan and his coaching panel can also claim for a move that shifted the course of the game.
Aaron Hall destroyed the Lions in the first half and if his involvement in scoring chains was not disrupted the Roos were going to extend their five year dominance over Brisbane.
Enter Mitch Robinson, with a little help from former Roo Ryan Bastinac, who shut down Hall and with it the Kangaroos' run.
"It was an important move, Hall was the dominant player on the ground in the first half that probably proved a critical moment in the game,'' Fagan said.
So was the McInerny's third quarter when he pulled down three towering marks and booted 2.1 to spark the comeback.
"Wasn't it sensational, I was just disappointed he didn't kick that third one because it would have brought the roof off,'' he said.
"It was actually an important time because we were struggling a bit then and they looked like they could get away from us.''