Another sickening head knock to Jonathan Brown ensured a Bugg made a bigger impact than Brisbane’s “Mozzie squad” as Greater Western Sydney grabbed a historic 45-point AFL win on Saturday night at the Gabba.
The Giants claimed their first away win on their 28th attempt, sixth victory overall in 56 and their maiden triumph over the Lions.
But wait, there is more – the 19.11 (125) to 12.8 (80) scoreline was also their biggest winning margin, eclipsing the 37-point victory over Melbourne in round 19 last year.
And it was their most points in a game, nudging the 124-point total in the same match against the Demons.
The Lions’ pride might have been damaged but, arguably, veteran forward Brown was hurting the most after suffering his third head injury in 12 months when he ran into Tomas Bugg early in the third term.
A brave Brown again ran backwards into the contest before his head connected with Bugg’s hip, leaving the triple premiership winner dazed and confused.
Alarm bells were ringing when he was escorted off the ground and quickly substituted but he was later diagnosed with a heavy concussion.
The Giants kicked the next two goals – and five straight in total – and did not look back as they largely silenced the 12,700 Gabba crowd.
The Giants stood tall despite the threat of the local Mozzie squad – small forwards Josh Green, Lewis Taylor and Dayne Zorko.
The trio had been the catalyst for Brisbane’s mini-revival of two straight wins.
Taylor, Zorko (both three goals) and Green (one major) were again impressive but nothing could stop the Giants (3-9 record) nabbing a win that will go a long way towards them avoiding another wooden spoon.
Brisbane lost key man Daniel Merrett (throat infection) before the match.
The Giants only led by one point at the first break – 4.3 (27) to 4.2 (26) – and halftime, 9.4 (58) to 9.3 (57).
Then Brown (two goals) went down.
The Giants jumped to a 21-point buffer at the final break and were never headed.
“To win on the road is a significant moment for our footy club,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.
“We’ve been trying for the last two and a half years so to win in that style is really good.”
On Brown’s departure, Cameron said: “I reckon it would be disappointing if they thought that was the turning point.
“Yes, he is a quality player and when he went down they were a bit stunned but for us to continue on was really pleasing.”
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch played down Brown’s injury, saying he did not even think his star forward would require scans.
“Hopefully there is enough metal in there now for it to hold together,” he said.
“I don’t know if we were shellshocked. But I would like to think we could overcome something like that to perform well.”