Brisbane was battered by Melbourne on Thursday night, going down to the reigning premiers by 64 points at the MCG.
The Lions controlled most of the first quarter before the Demons took control, went into overdrive and crushed their opponents.
The way in which the Lions were beaten took coach Chris Fagan by surprise and prompted him to criticise the performance.
“I didn’t see it coming, I don’t think we saw it in the first quarter either,” Fagan said in his post-match press conference.
“It was a promising start, but there’s no doubt in the end.
“This game was always going to hinge on the territory battle so therefore who wins the contest and Melbourne won it hands down.
“We should have lost the game by a lot more than we did. We were lucky they didn’t kick straight.
“That’s as bad as we’ve played in a long, long time. That takes me back to the first couple of years. The last three or four years our losses haven’t been like that.
“A disappointing night for us but credit to Melbourne. They were on song and they deserved to win like they did.”
The result and the manner in which it happened was alarming to Kane Cornes.
The Lions lost the contested possesion count by 38 and were beaten 46-35 in general clearances and 35-21 in stoppage clearances.
“They have been smashed around the ball. It takes you back to the Hawthorn game when that happened,” Cornes said on SEN Breakfast.
“Fremantle in particular beat them up around the ball and then they got smashed around the ball against Melbourne.
“There’s a bit of a trend there. They’ve won enough games to still be in a good position, but they were just smashed around the footy last night.”
David King touched on Fagan’s pre-game comments and wondered why Brisbane played with a lack of grit and were, as he describes, “absolutely brained”.
“The concern for me was when the coach in the pre-game said, ‘this is a real toughness test for us, this is a test to see how tough we are’,” he said.
“And then they go and get absolutely brained, not even close.
“It’s not even about the numbers, you could see it. You could have been in row 50 last night and seen every time the ball went into traffic, Melbourne were head-first, they were tougher, they were harder for longer, they broke tackles, they stepped through tackles last night, straight through.”
So can Brisbane win the flag given they’ve now lost 10 in a row at the MCG?
King says all is not lost, but Cornes fears for a team that according to him has some shortcomings in important areas.
He says the tall forward trio of Eric Hipwood, Dan McStay and Joe Daniher are underperforming and worries about their midfield which is carried by Lachie Neale.
“I’m close to saying it’s going to be really difficult for them,” said Cornes about their premiership hopes.
“I don’t think you get embarrassed like that on the MCG in a year and come back and win it.
“It’s not for the first time. I mentioned the Brisbane game, I mentioned they were beaten by Hawthorn.
“I look at their tall forwards and how flukey they are. I just can’t rely on their forwards, their midfield I don’t think has that strength about it.
“I just think there are too many holes and last night was a big, big step backwards for them.”
The Lions, who slipped to third, will be eager to put that one behind them when they host the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba next Thursday night.