3GWS Giants248602820649126.351L
7Port Adelaide208503719636113.051L
10Gold Coast16840463866695.81L
11Western Bulldogs128305729654111.472L
13Brisbane Lions128305596594100.341W
14St Kilda12830561463796.391W
15West Coast8820658176575.952L
18North Melbourne0800855996557.938L

Chris Fagan reckons he’s never seen a win like it. The Brisbane Lions defied an injury apocalypse to dominate the Gold Coast Suns in front of a record QClash crowd at the Gabba.

The Lions’ 10.19 (79) to 6.9 (45) victory on Sunday night came with just two men left on the bench for almost three quarters, after likely ACL tears for Lincoln McCarthy and Darcy Gardiner. Add to that Brandon Starcevich (calf) injuring himself in the warm-up, Noah Answerth (concussion) going down early, and a teenage emergency in Logan Morris playing his debut game after a full match in the VFL—and you’ve got one chaotic evening.

Morris, called up on just 10 minutes’ notice, was probably still digesting his McDonald’s meal from the arvo. But despite the carnage, the Lions clinched their first home win of the season, lifting them to 3-5 and taking some wind out of the Suns’ sails (now 4-4).

“I’ve been involved in footy for a long time and never seen anything like the carnage that happened,” Fagan said.

“It was the most amazing and courageous win I’ve ever seen, by any group of players I’ve had anything to do with. It shows a great deal of character and will go down in our club as one of our greatest ever wins.”

Dayne Zorko was the architect of it all, with a career-high 39 disposals (35 kicks) from half-back, slicing up the Suns and earning himself his first Marcus Ashcroft Medal. Lachie Neale (34 disposals) and Hugh McCluggage (31 touches) were on fire, while Oscar McInerney’s return from concussion kept Jarrod Witts in check.

Matt Rowell (16 disposals, two clearances) was blanketed by Josh Dunkley, and the Suns lacked any real bite up forward.

The Lions led by 40 points at halftime and didn’t look back, even with 11 straight behinds keeping the Suns in the hunt. Ben King kicked three goals for Gold Coast, but his first two were cancelled out by a rare Gardiner double.

Harry Sharp started the second quarter with a slick check-side snap, and Joe Daniher snagged a goal after playing on. Logan Morris rounded off his whirlwind day with a second-quarter goal, though he could’ve had more if not for a couple of wayward set shots.

Suns coach Damien Hardwick said his side couldn’t handle the heat from a fired-up Lions outfit.

“We got jumped,” he admitted. “They’ve been under the pump this week, but their indicators were very good.”

Earlier, Fremantle saw off Richmond at the MCG with a 54-point win, while the Western Bulldogs stumbled against Hawthorn at Docklands. The injury to Tom Liberatore added to the Dogs’ woes after a stray boot stud left him bloodied and disoriented.

Brisbane now faces a crucial trip to Adelaide next week, while the Suns will look to bounce back big time against North Melbourne at home.