Round 8 – Essendon v Brisbane: Bombers win after second half blitz

Essendon fans this weekend can finally breathe (or cheer) a sigh of relief they have been holding for two weeks, as they saw the triumph of a 58 point domination against the Brisbane Lions at an open roofed Etihad Stadium. This win was not only essential to get their season to an even keel (4-4), but to also trounce previous year’s losses at this critical point in the season. The Bombers have found themselves falling to sides such as St Kilda and Melbourne; sides they should be beating if they want to prove they are worthy of the top..


It was the Lions however who got off to the perfect start, with Lewis Taylor kicking goal number one for the Lions in the first 20 seconds of the game. The Bombers however, responded a couple minutes later through Joe Daniher, who would later prove to be the driving force of the game with a six goal haul. The Merrett brothers then combined (as good brothers should) to get the ball to Daniher, who converted to get his second goal of the game, putting the Bombers in front. It was then goals by Josh Green and Ryan Lester that enabled the Lions the mini break they sought, placing doubt in the Bombers mind. That doubt however dissipated quickly through goals to Brent Stanton and Adam Cooney and it was back to a one point margin, the game fast turning into a shootout between the two teams. It was then a crumbing goal by Trav Colyer that put the Bombers back in front by 5 points and had the side in control for the short term. It wasn’t long until the Lions replied quickly through a nice goal by  Lester, making it possible for the boys to head into the quarter time break with optimistic belief as they were now in front 33 to 32. Despite missed opportunities by both teams, fans were still able to revel in a close game which was turning into a unprecedented nail biter.


With the second quarter about to get underway the Bombers knew that they had to get off to a perfect start and they did just that, with Jake Carlisle dribbling one through to put them back in front. The Lions however, would not go away and after some swift play they were able to hit the lead through a goal to first gamer Liam Dawson, with another goal quick to follow by Green, bringing their lead to 6 points. It was then Ambrose of the Bombers who kicked his first shortly after, with the score now levelled and the game going goal for goal. After a missed opportunity by the Lions the Bombers went coast to coast, with a goal by Jackson Merrett to see them take the lead. With a goal by Daniher, the Bombers extended the lead to 11 points and things were looking good going into the half time break. This however was short lived with the Lions able to get a goal on the siren and reduce the margin at the half time break to 5 points. The Bombers now had the upper hand with 59 to 54 and a whole half to still play.


The third quarter began with a bang from the Bombers, with the team firing a strong running game and a quick goal by Cooney. It was then Daniher, now kicking his fourth goal of the game, to see the Bombers in front by 17. The Lions replied with as much haste as they could muster and got the margin back to 11, making the Bombers work for it. And that they did, increasing their pressure and finding a lead of 37 points in a space of just ten minutes. The Lions managed to kick a late one but that was quickly nullified by Paul Chapman, who got the lead back out to 37 points. This saw the Bombers crack the 100 points mark, something they had not achieved since Round 3 against Carlton. With the third quarter siren sounding the Bombers found themselves leading by 39 points, 105 to 66, gaining the upper hand.


The last quarter began and old man Fletcher was subbed off at the final break, most likely for precautionary reasons (he is 40 after all and in line to play his 400th game next week). After the blitz by the Bombers in the third term, it was hard to see the Lions making a come back from 39 points down and yet they surprised fans with the first goal of the term. This was sure to unsettle the Bombers, with the team being known to let leads slip at the crucial moment. However a quick response from Goddard gave the Bombers a chance to regroup, well, before the Lions scored again and proved they weren’t going down without a fight. It was Daniher who provided the quick response from the Bombers, kicking his 5th and 6th of the game and showing his best performance in his short career. This seemed to break the back of the Lions, as the pressure they were previously giving dropped and the Bombers started to coast with ease. When the final siren sounded the Bombers emerged victorious, winning the match by 58 points; their highest score since Round 3 of last year.



The Bombers left the ground with heads held high and spirits strong, with a game that showed solid defence and a second half blitz to remember. This blitz can be attributed to a tough running game and pressure on the opposition, leaving the Lions deflated and defeated. This style of play, played into the hands of the forwards, most notably Joe Daniher who kicked a career best of six goals. The Bombers will be hoping they can take this style into the rest of the season and more predominantly into next week’s Dreamtime at the G game against Richmond.


ESSENDON   5.2   9.5   16.9   21.10 (136)
BRISBANE LIONS   5.3   8.6   10.6   12.6 (78)

Essendon: Daniher 6, Cooney 3, Carlisle 3, Goddard 2, Stanton, Colyer, Ambrose, J Merrett, Hibberd, Melksham, Chapman
Brisbane Lions: Green 3, Lester 2, Taylor, Dawson, Rich, D Beams, Robertson, Martin, Gardiner

Essendon: Daniher, Hurley, Stanton, Hibberd, Hooker, Cooney, Howlett
Brisbane Lions: Martin, Rockliff, D Beams, Green, Paparone


My Votes: 3 Daniher (Ess), 2 Hooker (Ess), 1 Hurley (Ess)

Umpires: Rosebury, Edwards, Harris


Official crowd: 36,857 at Etihad Stadium


About Nick Weidmann

Former Honours student in Journalism at the University of Tasmania and passionate Essendon supporter

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