AFTER coach Michael Voss this week suggested his side needed to rely more on intent than talent, it was a switched-on Brisbane Lions unit that hit the ground at Patersons Stadium to take on Fremantle on Saturday.
Some push and shove before the opening bounce suggested the visitors were there to play, but Alex Silvagni’s torn jumper was the only lasting damage as Fremantle led all day to run out 40 point winners, 12.14.86 to 6.10.46.
The low scoring nature of the contest kept the Lions seemingly within range throughout the first three quarters and they trailed by four straight kicks at the last change, but there was never a point where the result was in doubt.
David Mundy was a stand-out for Fremantle, gathering possessions freely and chipping in with two vital goals in the third quarter, while Michael Barlow was back to his pre-injury best.
The Lions’ forward line was missing the big-bodied presence of Jonathan Brown but veteran Ashley McGrath did his best to fill the gap, his wayward kicking letting him down as he finished with 2.3 from some very gettable opportunities.
The match was always going to be remembered as the day Lions’ legend Simon Black surpassed the club games record held by Marcus Ashcroft, but even that moment went wrong when Black was subbed off in the third quarter and left to watch his big day in the red vest.
It was Fremantle lock-down artist Ryan Crowley, himself celebrating his 150th match, who shadowed the classy Black until his benching, a fitting analogy for the dour yet successful tactics of Ross Lyon.
Another minor melee broke out in the closing stages of the game but it was a last spark of life from a contest that never raised itself to particularly high levels.
The Lions, and especially Michael Voss, will be desperate to inject some vigour into their efforts through the remainder of the season, while Lyon and his Dockers would have to be happy with the way 2013 is panning out.