The Brisbane Lions succumbed to a third straight loss on Sunday evening since opening the season with a 2-point win over Gold Coast.
An inexperienced Lions side could do nothing from stopping a rampant Richmond pile on the goals when they pleased. Richmond eventually ran out 52-point winners, however not everything about this game was poor for the Lions. They did show several signs of how dangerous this side can be once they develop. There were some bad moments in this game as well as some ugly moments.
There were several key elements where the Lions performed admirably. Clearances have long been a problem for the Lions, not being able to get first use of the footy immediately puts you at a disadvantage. However, the young Lions smashed Richmond in the clearance count 43-30 on the back of Tom Rockliff's 13 clearances. Clearances and Hit-outs have a direct correlation and winning the clearance count can be placed on the big shoulders of ruckman Stefan Martin. He won an astonishing 52 hit-outs to the Tigers 20. Playing Martin as a lone ruckman gives him the confidence to dominate the ruck contests, which in turn leads Brisbane to get
He won an astonishing 52 hit-outs to the Tigers 20. Playing Martin as a lone ruckman gives him the confidence to dominate the ruck contests, which in turn leads Brisbane to get first use of the football and the chance to immediately stream towards goal. 52 inside 50s for a team that scored 67 points is also quite good, the forward line is quite young and still learning the tools of the trade. The more inside 50's the Lions have the more opportunity the forwards have to learn about better body positioning, where to lead and how to keep the structure of the forward line.
The Lions dominated the third quarter. A 4-point win on the scoreboard didn't do justice to how well the Lions moved the ball and controlled the play in that quarter. Coach Chris Fagan's system of switching and then attacking directly through the corridor with linking handballs works effectively, just couldn't convert the chances. The tackling pressure was also immense with 20 tackles occurring inside the Lions attacking 50 metres. This led to Brisbane's dominance of play, just not on the scoreboard.
Losing by 52 points isn't the best result for the Lions, they need to experience winning to improve their game. By finding and establishing ways to win, Brisbane's young players will improve exponentially. Losing by big margins, even against a good side, doesn't reflect as well as it should on this team.
78 turnovers are quite a high number of mistakes to make. Brisbane was a bit sloppy with its use of the footy at some parts of the game.
Conceding 34 scoring shots from 60 inside 50s is also not great. Every second time the Tigers went inside 50 they scored. The Lions midfield is very good at running forward with the ball; they need to improve how they chase down the ball when the opposition is in possession.
The majority of the first half was a slaughter for the Lions, especially the first 10 minutes of the second quarter where the Tigers piled on four quick goals. When the Tigers started to roll the Lions defensive mechanisms fell to pieces and there was no semblance of structure or retaliation. It was a blind panic until a couple of free kicks Brisbane's way kick started them back into motion. They'll learn as they play more and more together, but the defenders will hang their heads when they review the tape of those 10 minutes.
Tom Cutler suffered a hamstring injury and is likely to miss anywhere between 4-12 weeks depending on the severity of the strain. Cutler's run off half-back was missed for the majority of the game as the Lions could never really wrestle back the lead.
Tom Rockliff also dislocated a finger in the last quarter of the game and had it popped back in before returning to the game. Hopefully, there is no serious damage.