AAP AFL

Lions hold out Crows in AFL thriller

By AAP Newswire

A late Adelaide onslaught had threatened to spoil their day but Brisbane have held firm to claim a one-point AFL win over the Crows at the Gabba.

The Lions were ahead for most of the day and led by 26 points at one stage in the final quarter before an Adelaide charge in the final eight minutes.

Eddie Betts' goal just before the siren on Saturday afternoon made the scores 13.15 (93) to 13.14 (92) but there was no more time for the ball to be taken back to the centre and the Lions celebrated a hard-fought win.

Coach Chris Fagan said the match was finals-like in its nature between two evenly matched teams and would stand his team in good stead for the future despite the nailbiting finish.

"It'll be interesting to have a look at the tape of the last seven or eight minutes," Fagan said.

"I think we'll get a great deal of learning out of that but you need to play in those sorts of games to learn how to play in them.

"There'll be some things there that we'll all shake our heads at but, at the end of the day, we did enough right to come away with the points."

Midfield pair Lachie Neale and Dayne Zorko were the sparks for the home team.

Neale ended with a game-high 39 disposals while captain Zorko was a presence throughout, laying on 12 tackles and even booting a goal from outside the 50 in the opening term.

Ex-Crow Charlie Cameron continued his return to form with three goals for the Lions, including an electrifying left-foot snap in the final term that had the 20,405 fans on their feet.

Dan McStay booted three for the Lions in arguably his best performance of the season while Fagan reserved special praise for defensive pair Daniel Rich and Harris Andrews.

Adelaide looked done when McStay kicked his third of the day in the final quarter but goals to Betts, Rory Sloane and Tex Walker brought the margin down to eight with four minutes still to play.

In a pivotal moment, star forward Tom Lynch spilt an easy mark inside the goal square to the Lions' relief.

Betts was narrowly denied a brilliant soccered goal seconds before he did bring the Crows within one point but time ran out for the visitors.

"The reality is, with four minutes to go, we had a few opportunities," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"We blew a couple of those, probably needed to get a goal within the two minutes to go and we won some ball, had some free run at it and we just didn't quite close out the players.

"On the balance of the way the game was played, credit to Brisbane - they were stronger and got the result."

Betts ended the day with three majors, as did Walker, while Sloane was the pick of the Crows with 28 disposals and his final-term goal.

Veteran Bryce Gibbs, only included in the team on Friday after Matt Crouch succumbed to a hip injury, kicked two goals and picked up 22 disposals in an impressive response to being overlooked for initial selection.

The win is Brisbane's fourth from five home matches this season and lifts them into the top four with a 6-3 record after nine matches.

It's also the Lions' first win over Adelaide since 2012 after losing their past seven matches to the Crows.

Brisbane travel west next weekend to play Fremantle, while the Crows are at home against West Coast.