The Lions held on against the fast-finishing Saints, who kicked five goals to two in the second half.
After just two behinds in the last quarter, the Lions won with 1.8.8 (65) to St Kilda’s 0.8.8 (56).
Brendon Goddard sparked the Saints’ third-term revival with an outstanding quarter after the Lions got out to a 46-point margin in the early stages of the second half.
St Kilda banged on four quick goals, the fourth from a free kick for high contact on Goddard by Ash McGrath which resulted in a report for the Lions player and cut the lead to 21 points before Scott Harding’s third for the evening gave the Lions a little breathing space.
The final quarter saw Stephen Milne kick two goals and threaten to steal the game from the Lions, but a dropped mark by Matt Maguire close to goal saw the Saints’ final chance to close within a goal disappear.
The home team’s win was more meritorious given that skipper Jonathan Brown and fellow forward Daniel Bradshaw didn’t play.
Their absence scarcely saw their team miss a beat in the first half, unlike St Kilda, whose forward line was largely impotent without captain Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke.
The Lions set up their win in the second term, when they scored a supergoal and four six-pointers to the Saints’ two behinds to break away to a 40-point margin at half time.
The match was error-strewn and very low scoring until the Lions went on their second-quarter scoring spree, with a nine-point goal to Josh Drummond, two goals to Harding, and majors to veteran Tim Notting and first-gamer Aaron Cornelius.
St Kilda’s only first-half goal was scored by Ben McEvoy, who a week ago was helping his family battle the Victorian bushfires.
The Lions surprised by using Jared Brennan as a mobile ruckman against the tall Saints timber in Steven King and Michael Gardiner, but despite being beaten in most ruck contests, the side won its share of clearances.
Brennan was impressive around the ground, and was among his side’s best players, along with Travis Johnstone, who racked up 27 possessions.
Goddard was clearly the Saints’ best in a free-running midfield/forward role, with 30 disposals including 19 handballs, and two goals.
Strongly-built Daniel Rich, the No.7 pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, was impressive early for the Lions, moving fluently and winning the ball well, although like many of his teammates, he was quiet after half time.
The Saints’ Robert Eddy was injured in a bizarre first-quarter clash with an umpire in an off-the-ball collision, and left the field with a knee injury that will be assessed for its severity on Sunday.
BRISBANE LIONS 0.2.3 (15) 1.6.6 (51) 1.8.6 (63) 1.8.8 (65)
ST KILDA 0.1.3 (9) 0.1.5 (11) 0.5.7 (37) 0.8.8 (56)
Brisbane Lions: Nine-point goal: Drummond. Goals: Harding 3, Notting, Sherman, Cornelius, Hooper, Clark
St Kilda: Milne 2, Goddard 2, Geary, Clarke, Steven, McEvoy.
Brisbane Lions: Johnstone, Brennan, Harding, Dalziell, Drummond
St Kilda: Goddard, Dal Santo, Geary, Ball, R Clarke
25th February 2009