The animosity between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons was no secret heading into their AFL semi-final, with a predictable resumption of hostilities at the MCG.
While the personal sledges with dominated headlines after their previous clash in round 23, Demons coach Simon Goodwin was less than impressed after defender Harrison Petty was once again targeted with a childish taunt.
Petty had been left in tears after a comment from Lions captain Dayne Zorko in their last match-up, which prompted a genuine apology from the Brisbane veteran but was a saga the Demons had been quick to put behind them.
While talk of a sledging rematch had been part of the discussion during the week, Goodwin said he hadn't been expecting something like Lions veteran Lincoln McCarthy once again mocking Petty by rubbing his eyes at one point in the first half.
The taunt came moments after McCarthy had spilled a one-handed mark while running back with the flight of the ball, a drop Petty was happy to let him know about.
The reigning premiers were well in control of the game at that point, and former St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt was critical of McCarthy given their deficit to the Demons at the time.
“McCarthy goes with the rubbing of the eyes, ‘you cried against us last time’ – but I’m saying when the ball’s there to be won, that’s the real test and you failed it," he said.
Fellow AFL great Nathan Buckley also criticised McCarthy, pointing out that Lions coach Chris Fagan had been focusing on actions over words during the build-up to the game.
The Lions got the last laugh this time though, turning things around in the second half to end the Demons' premiership defence.
Speaking after the game, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he would be 'disappointed' if McCarthy's gesture had been referring to the two teams' previous encounter.
“I’d be pretty disappointed if that was the case,” Goodwin said.
“That’s not really our issue. That’s their issue. It’s their footy club. If that’s how they want to act, then it’s up to them. That’s not how we act at our footy club.”
Lions topple Demons but sweat MRO verdict on Jarrod Berry
The Lions will be sweating on the availability of match-winner Jarrod Berry for next weekend's AFL preliminary final after he appeared to gouge the eye of Melbourne's Clayton Oliver.
Berry was switched onto Oliver to start the second half of Brisbane's thrilling comeback win over the reigning premiers on Friday night, having a telling impact on the outcome.
However a moment mid-way through the third quarter could potentially put an end to Berry's season, after his fingers appeared to graze Oliver's eyes as the pair wrestled on the ground.
Oliver complained to the umpire about the incident after he came over to separate the pair, with the officials also keeping an eye on the pair's back-and-forth from that point on.
It could be a costly error of judgement for Berry, who was instrumental in the 14.8.92 to 11.13.79 victory at the MCG.
Berry finished with 26 disposals and eight marks, as well as curtailing the work of the influential Oliver around Melbourne stoppages.
Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor said replays of the incident between Berry and Oliver didn't look good for the Lions star.
“Definitely gone for the eye there, Berry,” Taylor said.
“There is absolutely no doubt that those fingers got tangled with Oliver’s eye.
“How forceful it was, is hard to tell. It’s not great vision though.
When asked about the incident after the match Berry sought to play it down, saying it was 'nothing purposeful' and describing it as 'just a little scuffle in the centre of the MCG'.
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