IT was billed as the battle to avoid the wooden spoon but in the end it was no contest.
Ben Brown went on a rampage as the Kangaroos emphatically erased any talk of tanking by smashing the Lions by 51 points at the Gabba.
Brown’s 7.2 performance evoked memories of his namesake here in Brisbane, Jonathan Brown at his peak.
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Brad Scott, whose future at Arden Street has been the subject of much speculation, managed to extract a committed effort from his men when a loss would have given the club their first ever top draft pick.
Lions coach Chris Fagan could not.
For all the talk of improvement and the dawn of a new era, the Lions have now claimed the spoon for the first time in 19 years.
They should take that coveted No.1 draft pick and turn it into a midfielder who can win a centre clearance.
And for all the talk from the Lions players about wishing the season could go longer – it clearly went one week too long.
The 19.16 (130) to 11.13 (79) in front of 15,416 was their worst performance of the year.
The Kangaroos kicked nine straight goals from quarter-time until half way through the third term to seal the result.
Shaun Higgins battled with Brown as the best player on the ground while Trent Dumont and Andrew Swallow dominated the clearances.
The Kangaroos won the centre clearances 22-12 and around the ground 47-30.
By half-time the only unknown was if Brown could make an unlikely surge up the Coleman Medal leaderboard.
Although he entered the game trailing Josh Kennedy by eight goals, the Roos’ dominance out of the middle made anything seem possible.
It was a tough debut for Kangaroo Ben McKay who was stretchered off the ground in a neck brace in the third quarter after a heavy collision with teammate Sam Durdin.
Durdin returned for the final quarter with a heavy bandage around his head but McKay took no further part in the game.
Eric Hipwood was a late change after failing to overcome the knee injury that had dogged him all week but the Lions were able to avert any talk of tanking when Dayne Zorko took his place despite spending two days in hospital midweek due to an infection in a graze on his leg suffered against Melbourne last week.
For a quarter at least.
The opening quarter defied all logic except the golden rule that bad kicking is bad football.
The Kangaroos’ smashed the Lions in the contests and won all seven of the centre clearances.
Yet when the quarter-time siren sounded the Lions had scored five goals straight from just 9 inside 50m entries while the wasteful Roos had managed 1.8 from 18 entries.
Higgins and Cunnington were the chief offenders missing two shots each.
Maybe there was an atmospheric reason invisible to the naked eye because the next quarter was the reverse, except for the Kangaroos’ continued dominance in the contests.
Brisbane kicked 0.5 to the Roos’ 4.1
It was the closest the Lions would get.
Originally published as Brown’s bag leaves Lions with spoon
Source: sports dailytelegraph