Lachie Neale (c) was outstanding as Brisbane thrashed Essendon by 63 points on the Gold Coast. Image by Albert Perez/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

Lions smash dismal Bombers in AFL clash

2020-07-31 23:29:37

Brisbane stars Lachie Neale and Charlie Cameron have powered the Lions to a thumping 63-point Friday night AFL win against Essendon.

The high-flying Lions were never troubled from the opening bounce at Metricon Stadium, booting 14.7 (91) to 3.10 (28) to canter to their seventh win of the season.

Their third-straight victory leaves Brisbane (7-2) a game-and-a-half clear, equal with Port Adelaide at the top of the ladder.

Prolific midfielder Neale and electric forward Cameron (four goals), whose four-year contract extension with the Lions was announced pre-game, ran riot as Brisbane recorded their highest score of the season.

With a 33-possession, two-goal display, Neale is likely to again poll three votes as he continues to charge towards his first Brownlow Medal.

Cameron set the game alight in the first quarter, booting two goals to propel the Lions to a 24-point lead at quarter-time.

His next goal, coming in the third quarter, was a goal-of-the-year contender with a dribbling effort from the pocket.

All-Australian Harris Andrews and Alex Witherden, who was recalled for his first game since round one, were tremendous down back to restrict Essendon to their lowest score this century despite the Bombers winning the inside-50 count.

Brisbane made five changes for the round-nine game, mostly due to injury, and it allowed different Lions players to impress.

“We’ve been working towards having depth in our footy club, one win doesn’t announce it,” Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.

“Many of the reserves boys have been waiting for an opportunity, but haven’t been able to get one because the team’s been winning and we haven’t had many injuries.”

Brisbane piled three goals on the board before Essendon could even score.

The second quarter was a slog, with the Bombers kicking one goal to the Lions’ two behinds.

But the game opened up again after half time, with Brisbane kicking five goals in the third quarter to completely break Bombers’ spirits.

On a dark night for the Bombers, midfielder Andrew McGrath was by far Essendon’s best with 25 possessions.

“They (Brisbane) looked too good for us, too classy. They used the ball too well,” Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

“There was big patches in the game where we didn’t put them anywhere near under enough pressure.”