Disappointed coach Brendan McCartney is ruing a horror patch which saw the Western Bulldogs slump to a shock eight-point home loss to Brisbane.
The Lions’ second win on the trot saw them climb off the bottom of the AFL table and above St Kilda and Greater Western Sydney.
With “the three amigos” of Josh Green, Lewis Taylor and Dayne Zorko running riot in the midfield, the Lions outscored the Bulldogs by nine goals to three in a dominant period stretching from late in the first term until halftime.
The Bulldogs did kick four of the last five goals of Saturday night’s match against the flagging young Brisbane outfit, but McCartney acknowledged that was too little, too late.
“There were periods in the game tonight where all the areas of our game weren’t up to scratch,” he said.
“Because of that, as a football club we missed a great opportunity to take another step forward.
“And because of that we end up with another loss under 10 points that we deserved.
“The development that hasn’t taken place is to not let a horror five minutes become a horror 25 minutes.
” … in the end we weren’t good enough for 40 minutes and we’ve got to accept responsibility for that – I take responsibility for it.
“We’re disappointed in how we played tonight, we’re disappointed as a footy club.
“It was a similar tale to most weeks, unfortunately for us.”
Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch was thrilled with the contribution of third-string ruckman Stefan Martin, playing his first senior game of the year.
Standing in for injured duo Matthew Leuenberger and Trent West, the former Demon had the best of his duel with last year’s All-Australian ruckman Will Minson.
“He was terrific,” said Leppitsch after the 14.11 (95) to 13.9 (87) win at Etihad Stadium.
“Both of the boys we brought in, Stef and Rohan Bewick, were probably our best two players in the end.”
The Lions will now take the unfamiliar tag of favourites into next weekend’s home clash with Giants.
“That’s a whole new pressure,” said the first-year coach.
“We have to handle this well and you can’t get ahead of yourselves.”
The Bulldogs must regroup ahead of a tough encounter against premiership contenders Collingwood.