Ex-Cat puts Brisbane on top of the AFL ladder

Lincoln McCarthy has helped pen a sequel to the Miracle on Grass, sinking his former AFL side with a spectacular mark and goal in the dying moments as Brisbane ran down Geelong in a thriller at the Gabba.

McCarthy, having moved north this season to revitalise his career, had just seven touches all day before he soared high to mark and put the Lions ahead with 90 seconds to play on Saturday.

They hung on in a top-of-the table thriller 10.15 (75) to 10.14 (74) in what was a brilliant second instalment to the 2013 Miracle on Grass - the last time Brisbane had beaten the Cats.

Geelong led by 17 inside the final 10 minutes after Esava Ratugolea's second goal, but the Lions dragged themselves back through Charlie Cameron (five goals) and superb defence from Marcus Adams.

Patrick Dangerfield dominated the guts of the Gabba with 37 touches in what appeared to be a match-winning hand.

But, just like in 2013 when Ash McGrath goaled after the siren to win, the Lions engineered another comeback to notch a ninth-straight victory in front of a sell-out crowd of 35,608.

"Linc didn't have a great game today, but he had a great moment and that's sort of what finals is about at times," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.

"It's a good lesson for everyone; you can be down but you can find a way to influence.

"That's our mantra ... just don't give in. You can be having a bad day but you can do something to help.

"Today's a real lesson of what can happen when you do that."

The ladder-leaders were always going to ask new questions as the Lions prepared for their first finals foray in a decade.

And the Cats didn't take long to do so, shocking Brisbane with their pace around the contest and forcing mistakes from the Lions' backline.

Mitch Duncan and Jed Bews goaled early for the Cats but defenders Harris Andrews and Adams stopped the bleeding before Hugh McCluggage kicked the Lions' only goal in a low-scoring first term.

Geelong held sway through the middle stages, with a three-goal burst just before half time giving them a healthy buffer.

Jarryd Lyons' goal made it an 11-point game with seven minutes to play before Cameron missed a snap that appeared to end hopes of a comeback.

Cameron bobbed up again though, before McCarthy arrived in his 50th AFL game to kick the winner.

Cats coach Chris Scott was philosophical despite saying the loss would "sting" given they controlled the bulk of the contest.

"Disappointed but it's not a disaster for us and that's as positive a spin I can put on it but I think it's pretty close to the truth," he said.