Blues on top of Eagles in the west, Hawks eyeing off win over Crows

A Brisbane Lions AFL player attempts to handball while being tackled by an Essendon opponent.

The Blues make a blistering start to their away match against the Eagles, while the Hawks are on the cusp of claiming victory over the Crows.

Earlier, the Bombers defeated the understrength Lions by 10 points at the Gabba.

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Hawks vs Crows

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Bombers hand Lions rare home loss

A Brisbane Lions AFL player attempts to handball while being tackled by an Essendon opponent.
Brisbane’s Lincoln McCarthy (left) handballs as Essendon’s Andrew McGrath applies defensive pressure.(AAP: Darren England)

Essendon inflicted a first home loss of the season on the COVID-hit Brisbane Lions.

In-form tall forward Peter Wright kicked five goals for the Bombers as they pulled off an ambush on the undermanned Lions with a 15.10 (100) to 13.12 (90) win.

The Lions, who lost nine players to a combination of injury and COVID-19 in the build-up to the match, threatened to snatch the win in the final minutes but could not find a way to avoid a defeat that may have ramifications on their top-four aspirations.

Jye Caldwell, who spent much of the afternoon marking stand-in Lions captain Lachie Neale, was a stand-out performer with 26 disposals, seven tackles and a vital fourth-quarter goal.

Zach Merrett was also impressive for the visitors with 31 disposals, six clearances and three goal assists.

Kyle Langford was the other multiple goal kicker for the Bombers with four majors.

The Lions’ goals were shared, with Lincoln McCarthy kicking three and Oscar McInerney and Mitch Robinson two each.

Brandon Starcevich (26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles) and Hugh McCluggage (29 disposals, four clearances) were solid performers for the hosts, whose pressure was well down on their normal efforts as they slipped to a first home loss since last year’s semi-final against the Western Bulldogs.

It is the Lions’ first regular-season defeat at home since their round-one loss to the Sydney Swans at the start of last season.

After a goalless opening 16 minutes, Langford was the catalyst to the Bombers taking the lead in the contest with three goals in the second quarter.

The Lions came out firing in the second half, with talls Darcy Fort and McInerney scoring back-to-back goals, before Bombers captain Dyson Heppell and Wright restored their three-goal advantage.

A fantastic snap on the run by McCarthy and Robinson’s second had the Lions within six points, before Wright’s third goal of the term ensured a 12-point margin at the final turn.

The Bombers held the Lions at arm’s length for much of the fourth quarter before Eric Hipwood’s goal with less than five minutes to play had the Lions trailing by just five points.

From the resulting centre bounce, however, the Bombers went straight down the middle and Caldwell slotted a vital goal on the run from outside the 50.

Cam Rayner responded for the Lions but when Starcevich was penalised in the dying seconds it sealed the win for the Bombers, with Matt Guelfi kicking a goal after the siren to add an exclamation point for an Essendon team who has won three of its past four matches.



Posted 4h ago4 hours agoSun 10 Jul 2022 at 2:58am, updated 14m ago14 minutes agoSun 10 Jul 2022 at 7:26am

Author: Ivan Robinson