Suns scramble but Lions' AFL strangehold remains

·2-min read
Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Gold Coast scratched the surface before Joe Daniher and Lachie Neale helped Brisbane slam the door shut on their Queensland AFL rivals with a ninth-straight derby win.

The Lions were pushed by a Suns team that's unearthed another layer of talent, turning a final-quarter dogfight into a comfortable 16.11 (107) to 9.10 (64) Gabba victory.

It was the Lions' (8-2) seventh straight this season but didn't come easy, with rookie Suns talent Bailey Humphrey's efforts (26 disposals, seven inside 50s) a huge positive for a side operating without injured captain Touk Miller.

It was Humphrey's left-foot snap that made it a five-point game early in the fourth quarter on Saturday.

But that was the moment things turned, as Lachie Neale, the Marcus Ashcroft Medal winner for best on ground with 35 disposals and 10 clearances, claimed a crucial stoppage that led to a 50-metre Eric Hipwood bomb.

The hosts kicked the last six goals of the game, Daniher booting four across the night a week after his six-goal haul against Essendon.

Josh Dunkley's battle with Matt Rowell was fierce while Hugh McCluggage (30 touches) found his groove as the Lions won a 40th regular-season game from their last 43 Gabba appearances.

"I did love that last quarter when they got within five points, we just steadied and our leaders stood up," coach Chris Fagan said.

"That was a tough contest ... O (ruckman Oscar McInerney) really turned it around and our ground-level players really got to work."

The Suns made all the early running, Jarrod Witts dominating the centre and Charlie Ballard continuing his strong marking form.

But they couldn't covert their dominance, the Lions going to the break with a nine-point lead.

The hosts pulled further away but the Suns got back within five points when Jack Lukosius toe-poked through his second goal in the third term.

Harry Sharp finished well and Charlie Cameron celebrated his second goal with an Indigenous Round dance to again shoot the hosts clear.

Jarrod Berry's goal made it a 23-point margin but King and Nick Holman replied, Ben Ainsworth missing his set shot after the siren to make it an 11-point deficit at the final break.

Humphrey's snap had the Suns believing early in the fourth but the Lions quickly snuffed that out.

"We were scratching, fighting for everything we could get," Suns coach Stuart Dew said.

"We couldn't get it on our terms but they kept going and when the game was there to be won we didn't absorb enough heat and brought some pressure on ourselves."