Under wet conditions, three close contests produced three different winners amongst the three participating teams in the group. The Gold Coast Suns, Melbourne Demons, and Brisbane Lions all find themselves still in the running for the NAB Cup Grand Final.
Game 1: Gold Coast 0.4.2 (26) defeated Melbourne 0.3.5 (23)
The Demons jumped out to a 13-0 lead after Mitch Clark and Nathan Jones kicked the first two goals of the match, but Gold Coast stormed back with two unanswered goals and eventually were level with Melbourne at 0.2.2 (14) on the halftime siren. Josh Fraser’s goal early in the second half put the Suns in front 20-14 before Melbourne scored seven unanswered to hit the front by a point. The Dees didn’t enjoy the lead for very long as Aaron Hall booted his second goal of the match to put Gold Coast back in front at 26-21. Melbourne pushed forward in the final minutes in an attempt to score the winning goal, but came away with two behinds and a three-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns.
Game 2: Melbourne 0.2.1 (13) defeated Brisbane 0.1.4 (10)
In the AFL, it’s quite rare to see a football club go scoreless after the first half of a match. It’s even rarer to see that same club win that match. It has happened, however, as Melbourne were unable to score in the first half, but scored 13 in the second to snatch victory away from the Brisbane Lions. As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, Brisbane had controlled much of the first half in possession; the Lions had 32 marks in the first half to the Demons’ one, but had only a seven-point advantage at the half. Todd Banfield kicked the lone goal of the match for Brisbane in the first half.
Brisbane could have been awarded a second goal in the second half when Pat Karnezis attempted to soccer-kick a goal for the Lions, but video review confirmed that the ball just grazed the goalpost padding, which consequently resulted in a behind for Brisbane; if the goalpost padding weren’t there, it likely would have been a goal for Brisbane and an eight-point lead (after the behind, Brisbane were up 9-6). Second half goals by Colin Sylvia and James Sellar put the Demons out in front at 13-9 with just over two minutes remaining in the match. Dustin Martin also tried to kick for goal for Melbourne with some fancy footwork around a couple of Brisbane defenders, but settled for a behind.
James Polkinghorne had a golden opportunity to win the game for Brisbane just before the full-time siren, but his soccer kick from ten metres out at a sharp angle bounced across the goal square and went for a behind. If Polkinghorne had scored a goal, Melbourne would have been eliminated from Grand Final contention.
Game 3: Brisbane 0.2.6 (18) defeated Gold Coast 0.2.4 (16)
Just like the last two matches, it was a close match, but this time, it produced another winner as the Brisbane Lions outlasted the Gold Coast Suns by two points. Ryan Harwood and Ryan Lester scored the goals for Brisbane while Harley Bennell and Nathan Bock kicked goals for Gold Coast.
Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli, and Josh Fraser, all of whom were playing in the first match against Melbourne, did not play against Brisbane.
Gold Coast had a chance to win late in the second half, but Liam Patrick could not convert on two late set shots, one of which went out on the full. Instead, the Lions came away with a two-point victory.