AFL: There was plenty of talk last year about the struggles of footy in Queensland.
But while the Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions did combine for just nine wins, we saw the beginnings of an epic rivalry that is set to define the QClash series.
In the red corner stands Tom Lynch, the Suns forward emerging as one of the game's best players with incredible contested marking ability.
In the maroon corner - or more likely in Lynch's pocket when their teams face off - is Harris Andrews, the young key defender who is quietly helping the Lions build a very promising spine.
The 13th QClash was arguably the most exciting yet with Gold Coast storming home from 47 points down to tie the scores late in the fourth quarter; but they wouldn't get any further than that with Brisbane eventually taking bragging rights.
The fact that the Suns even got in the contest was a credit to Lynch; but despite his three goals, the judges gave the points to Andrews.
"It's not often that the key forward kicks three goals in this era and you'd say the key backman won," declared Fox Footy commentator Dermott Brereton.
Lynch did end up kicking 3.2, taking five marks and having 12 disposals, but Andrews was right with him on the stats sheet taking four intercept marks and finishing with 15 spoils.
It was a battle Brisbane champion Alastair Lynch has been watching closely -and expects to continue to do so.
"It's probably (for) the next eight to 10 years we'll be seeing this contest," he said.
"Two really big, athletic, hard-working key position players. I love the way Harris Andrews went about it. He took Tom Lynch out of the contest by using his body to take him under the ball.
"He gave a couple of free kicks away but to his credit, Tom Lynch after a tough first half continued to work, evolved his game a bit and got in the game and gave his team a chance.
"Harris Andrews with the fact that they won probably gets the points."
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