Brisbane roared back into form as they got soaked then soared to a 57-point smashing of Essendon on a slippery Saturday night at the Gabba.
Both teams went into the match with precarious 1-3 records and were greeted by torrential rain bucketing down on Brisbane.
But the contest was all but over by halftim, e with the Lions leading by six goals after handling the wet and wild conditions much better than the Bombers.
Then former Bomber Joe Daniher put the nail in Essendon’s coffin when he took a spectacular mark, played on and kicked truly for a goal to give Brisbane a commanding 41-point buffer early in the third term.
Essendon did not kick a goal until midway through the second quarter when Cale Hooker profited from a 50 metre penalty against Zac Bailey for moving off the mark.
But normal transmission resumed soon enough as the dominant Lions tore the Bombers to shreds, extending their lead at every change.
For Brisbane, Daniel Rich was superb off halfback making 906 metres with his raking left-boot that gained valuable territory in the conditions, the classy Hugh McCluggage was sublime in the middle while Harris Andrews was imperious at fullback.
Daniel McStay made a triumphant return to the Brisbane forward line, Linc McCarthy tackled ferociously, Jarryd Lyons was a beast in the trenches and Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale moved well and saw plenty of the Sherrin.
But there was hardly a bad player in a Lions jumper as they put their foot on Essendon’s throat early and rarely relented as Hooker battled hard for his four goals.
Torrential conditions were the least of Essendon’s worries.Source:Getty Images
Brisbane’s 2001 premiership side enjoyed a reunion in one of the Gabba corporate suites as the current day Lions wore special jumpers celebrating their victory.
The march to that flag started with a famous home-and-away win over the Bombers. These Brisbane and Essendon teams are not the same calibre as those 2001 squads but the victory will give the Lions much needed momentum and confidence.
Jarrod Berry was reported for a sling tackle on Essendon’s Nik Cox but is unlikely to face any sanction. He was subbed out of the match after picking up an adductor injury while Essendon’s Jordan Ridley was subbed out with a concussion in the second quarter.
It was not a night for tall forwards so former Bomber Joe Daniher did not have quite the blinder he would have wanted against his old club. But he still made a more than handy contribution.
Daniher flew into packs, went searching for the Sherrin further up the ground and did a good job as the pinch-hitter in the ruck. His mark and goal in the third term was a highlight and added one more goal in the last term. He had 25 touches as well.
Almost biblical levels of rain hit the Gabba before the first bounce and continued through the first half creating rarely seen puddles on the surface with players slipping and sliding their way around the ground.
The local rain gauges received about 25 mLs but the water quickly drained off the ground. Brisbane handled the conditions much better than Essendon as they went long, direct and fast and piled on the goals to wrap-up the four premiership points soon after halftime.
Coming off his first full week of training for the year, Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale bounced back to some form.
Neale appeared to be moving much more freely and he accumulated 18 touches by halftime with nine contested possessions, two clearances and a goal. He booted another major in the third and had 38 touches, eight clearances and six inside 50s.
Forget about “Free Kick Hawthorn”, it was “Free Kick Essendon” at the Gabba. At one point in the second term, the Bombers enjoyed a 19-6 advantage in free kicks and by the main break the count was 20-8 by halftime. It finished 32-16.
One free kick against Lions forward Eric Hipwood for a deliberate out-of-bounds was laughable. But there was nothing funny about Essendon’s inability to take advantage of the avalanche of opportunities.
LIONS: 4.2 7.5. 12.6. 15.12 (102)
BOMBERS: 0.3. 1.5. 4.6. 6.9 (45)
LIONS: Hipwood 3, McStay 2, Neale 2, Prior 2, McCarthy 2, Daniher 2, McCluggage, Cameron
BOMBERS: Hooker 4, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Stringer
Greg Davis’ best:
LIONS: Rich, McCluggage, Lyons, Andrews, Neale, McCarthy, McStay,
BOMBERS: Hooker, Merrett, McGrath, Parish, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Langford
LIONS: Jarrod Berry (adductor)
BOMBERS: Jordan Ridley (concussion)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Greg Davis’ votes:
3: Daniel Rich
2: Hugh McCluggage
1: Jarryd Lyons
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