The Brisbane Lions have kicked the last four goals to come from 16 points down in the final quarter to upset Carlton at the Gabba.
Mick Malthouse refused to lay the blame on Jarrad Waite as Carlton’s serial offender opened the door for a stunning Brisbane upset on Saturday night.
The last-placed Lions stormed over the top of Malthouse’s Blues in an astonishing final quarter when they kicked the last four goals for a thrilling seven-point win.
But they were given a significant leg-up by Waite who compounded a forgettable display by giving away a mindless 50m free kick that allowed debutant Zac O’Brien to give the Lions the lead with six minutes left.
The power forward shoved influential Brisbane vice-captain Tom Rockliff next to where O’Brien was about to take a free kick in the middle of the ground.
Fined last year by his coach for a headbutt on Melbourne defender Tom McDonald and dropped this season after a poor display against Melbourne, Waite could have expected to be in the firing line again.
But Malthouse bit his tongue and denied the brain explosion cost his side in the 14.14 (98) to 13.13 (91) defeat.
“One ill-disciplined act generally doesn’t lose you the game,” he said. “There was that and there was others.
“There was wrong use of the football, the ease of which they moved the ball out of congested areas, etc, etc.
“Last quarter we led and just didn’t have the legs in the end.
“(Brisbane) were harder, longer, simple as that.”
A tight-lipped Malthouse showed more annoyance that Chris Yarran wasn’t paid a late leaping chest-mark in the Lions goalsquare, or paid a free for having his legs pulled, before Josh Green pounced for a nine-point lead.
Yarran showed his frustration at the other end of the Gabba by lashing out at Pearce Hanley to give away a 50m penalty and get reported.
Thrashed by North Melbourne in their last start a fortnight ago, Brisbane were far more energetic and enthusiastic from the outset in the greasy conditions.
They shocked the visitors by unleashing their best quarter of the season to lead by 28 points at the first change.
But it turned pear-shaped in the second term when ruckman Trent West suffered a serious knee injury that allowed Robbie Warnock (57 hit-outs) to dominate the stoppages.
At the time, Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch admitted he thought: “Can this year get any worse?”.
With Matthew Leuenberger still two months away from returning, Leppitsch may be forced to elevate basketball convert Archie Smith from the rookie list.
Brisbane’s second win of the year came despite only managing 16 inside 50s in the second and third terms, but for once they finished a game with more composure and run than their opponents.