An opportunity to stake a claim for a top-four berth presented itself when the Saints took on the second-place Lions at the Gabba in Round 13. The stakes were high with victory seeing them join the Lions on 36-premiership points while defeat would consign them to sixth place on the premiership ladder. In the end, despite looking the likely victor late in the match, the Saints would fall two points short of a valuable victory.
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Despite the result, there were plenty of highlight moments for the Saints starting with Dan Butler’s opening goal. A little more difficult than it needed to be, as he wasn’t awarded a 50 metre penalty after being pushed after marking Jack Steele’s scrubbed kick, be kicked truly from near 50. There was coast to coast ball movement. Callum Wilkie, Ben Paton, Max King, Seb Ross, Jack Steele, Nick Hind, Rowan Marshall all involved in the most impressive movement of the first quarter. The teams defensive pressure highlighted in strong tackles from Jake Carlise and Ben Long and a clever intercept from Dan Butler.
Callum Wilkie was important with a number of strong efforts preventing Brisbane attacking movements. One such effort at half back resulted in an attacking chain in which Nick Coffield, Jarryn Geary, Seb Ross, Ben Long and Ben Paton quickly moved the ball inside attacking 50. Rowan Marshall provided problems for the Lions around the ground. A big contested mark at half forward led to a Tim Membrey goal. Josh Battle too was able to cause a turnover at half forward but was unable to kick truly after smothering a kick as the man on the mark and having to settle for a behind.
Zak Jones was prominent in the midfield as was Brad Hill as the Saints continually turned defence into attack. With straight running, Dougal Howard was able to do similarly on his own when he charged onto disputed ball on centre wing. Continuing on after taking possession he pinpointed a pass to Dan Butler who in turn found Dean Kent alone inside forward 50 who goaled.
Two electrifying clearances were the highlights of the third quarter as Jack Steele and Seb Ross created goal scoring opportunities for Rowan Marshall and Max King. The other highlight was a breathtaking movement from half back that resulted in a Dan Butler goal. Beginning with a spoil from Nick Coffield, Brad Hill won an important loose ball at half back and quickly moved the ball towards the corridor. Finding Jack Steele with a pass, who in turn found Jack Sinclair, the Saints moved quickly towards goal. With defenders swarming to him, Sinclair released Butler who kicked a running goal to keep the Saints in the contest.
Tim Membrey was a prominent figure for the Saints late in the third quarter helping to keep the ball in the attacking zone. Time and again he pressured the Lions defenders and created stoppages and repeat entry opportunities. The best two examples being when outnumbered between half forward and centre wing he was able to force a stoppage and a relentless chase and tackle on Harris Andrews resulting in a stoppage from which Jack Steele kicked an important goal. The benefit of which able to be maintained into the last break after a desperate smother from Zak Jones prevented an answering Lions goal.
The Saints made all the running in the final quarter and despite a Mark of the Year contender from Max King and a Goal of the Year contender from Jack Billings, they couldn’t land the killer blow. Dean Kent was huge in the lead up to Billings’ goal with two crucial physical interventions and Membrey was throughout. Nick Coffield was poised across halfback as was Brad Hill who set up a number of attacks.