Jonathan Freeman bagged four goals on his first ever trip to the MCG as Brisbane ran rampant over the injury-plagued Magpies.
In an AFL season with plenty of ups and downs, this was the biggest of them all.
Fresh from a 105-point belting by Adelaide, Justin Leppitsch’s Brisbane basked in a 67-point demolition job of Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night.
There were certainly some mitigating factors – a gameplan-destroying five injuries to the Magpies chief among them.
But as rookie coach Leppitsch is learning, making predictions is a mug’s game.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get, do you, when you rock up to play a game of footy as a coach,” Leppitsch said.
“Two contrasting weeks for us, in terms of energy levels and output.
“We’re not as bad a team as we were last week, but also understanding tonight that we (beat) a very depleted side.”
Two hours before the game, the Magpies were a warm favourite to reclaim a spot in the top eight.
By the end of it, Collingwood’s captain, top three goalkickers and most important defender were out.
But a win’s a win – and this was some win.
In their history, the Lions have never experienced such a positive form reversal as the 172 point swing from last Sunday to Saturday night.
This was Leppitsch’s biggest win as coach, and the Lions’ biggest win on the MCG for seven years.
Despite the injuries, Leppitsch still felt his side deserved kudos.
“We still did our part and played our best football probably for the year,” he said.
Leppitsch’s post-game review will have plenty of winners.
His midfield trio of Tom Rockliff, Pearce Hanley and the best afield Dayne Zorko racked up 113 possessions, with ruckman Stefan Martin also bagging a career-high 32.
Amongst 11 goalscorers, second-gamer Jonathan Freeman’s four goals on his first ever visit to the MCG was a highlight.
With seven wins in a season widely expected to be a write-off, can Leppitsch already call his first year in charge a success?
“I’d say the year has been a success in a lot of other areas apart from the absolute win-loss,” he said.
“Blooding players, getting talent into our organisation, giving them opportunity and then probably seeing the glimpse of their potential… that’s what we can take out.”
One sour note was a late knee injury to Daniel Merrett.
“It could be just a hyper-extension, which we’re hoping and praying that it’s something as minor as that and not the full deal,” Leppitsch said.