ESSENDON 8.3 12.9 16.12 19.15 (129)
BRISBANE LIONS 4.1 7.4 8.4 9.8 (62)
Essendon have continued their winning ways in 2012, destroying a disappointing Brisbane outfit by 67 points at Etihad Stadium.
The alarm bells would have been ringing early for the Lions, with the Bombers midfield controlling proceedings and setting up several easy goals. The Lions just could not get their hands on the footy, and when they did, Essendon’s defensive pressure forced mistakes which they quickly turned into attack.
Dyson Heppell constantly found himself unmanned out the back of the stoppages, and was able to clean up loose balls and create attacking forays early as the Bombers quickly established a match-winning lead.
The situation became comical in the first, with Coach Michael Voss forced to watch star midfielder Simon Black contest a centre bounce. Predictably, he provided no contest, and yet another Bombers’ scoring opportunity was created as a result.
Essendon’s domination early was capitalised upon by forward Stewart Crameri, who finished the opening term with four goals and looked capable of reaching double figures.
Unfortunately, he appeared to seriously injure his knee, but Coach James Hird believes that he may be available next week.
But the major concern coming out of the game is the severe lack of competitiveness from a young Brisbane side, particularly around the stoppages.
Tom Bellchambers controlled the ruck, providing first use of the ball to Jobe Watson (36 disposals), David Zaharakis (30) and Brent Stanton (39) who completely outplayed any opponent Voss could provide.
Stanton was particularly impressive, bouncing back after a disappointing ANZAC Day performance, finishing with an astonishing 32 kicks and three goals. If the past fortnight has proven anything, only the fittest can go with Stanton, and Collingwood may have been fortunate to have someone with the stamina to match him.
Brisbane are not as lucky, and the end result was a telling one.
Watson and Sam Lonergan gathered 15 contested possessions each, equal with Simon Black for the most of anyone on the ground, but unlike Black’s Lions, they were assisted competently by all of their teammates who proved their hardness at the contest for the full four quarters.
After showing some signs earlier in the year of some strong positive play from their younger players, the skies have suddenly turned very dark for Brisbane.
3 – Brent Stanton (Essendon)
2 – Jobe Watson (Essendon)
1 – Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
Essendon: Crameri 4, Jetta 3, Davey 3, Lonergan 2, Monfries 2, Melksham, Dyson, Lovett-Murray, Dempsey, Watson
Brisbane Lions: Brown 2, Polec 2, Crisp 2, Hudson, McGrath, Cornelius
Essendon: Stanton, Watson, Bellchambers, Lonergan, Heppell, Hocking, Fletcher
Brisbane Lions: Rich, Redden, Brown, McGrath, Maguire
Essendon: Crameri (knee/shin)
Brisbane Lions: McGrath (adductor)
Essendon: Courtenay Dempsey subbed out for Travis Colyer in the third quarter
Brisbane Lions: Billy Longer subbed out for Patrick Karnezis in the third quarter
Umpires: Rosebury, Fila, Grun
Official crowd: 36,361 at Etihad Stadium