AFL 2 years ago

Relief for Lions, Leppa after AFL win

  • Relief for Lions, Leppa after AFL win

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Lions head coach Justin Leppitsch and Tom Rockliff of the Lions embrace after winning the round 18 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Brisbane have eased the pressure on coach Justin Leppitsch and likely consigned Essendon to the AFL wooden spoon with a 37-point win at Etihad Stadium.

The Lions ended their club-record losing streak of 12 games with Sunday's 20.8 (128) to 12.19 (91) win over the Bombers.

It was Brisbane's second win this season and leaves them a game clear of last-placed Essendon with five rounds left.

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There had been plenty of speculation about what losing this match might mean for Leppitsch's future as Lions coach.

But the Lions set the agenda from the start, kicking the opening three goals.

Daniel Rich had his best game of the season off half-back, captain Tom Rockliff was outstanding through the midfield and Mitch Robinson shut out Essendon playmaker David Zaharakis.

Not surprisingly, given the two teams only had one win apiece from 18 matches, it was not the greatest of spectacles.

But whenever Essendon challenged, Brisbane had an answer.

Poor goalkicking again killed any chance the Bombers had of coming back.

They kicked an abysmal 3.10 after halftime and ended the game with three more scoring shots.

Essendon only trailed by 13 points at the main break and it was instructive that at three-quarter time, they had the same number of scoring shots as Brisbane.

But Liam Dawson kicked a goal on the siren to give the Lions a 40-point lead, eliminating any doubt about their win.

Two goals in as many minutes at the start of the last quarter was the icing on the cake for Brisbane, who last won in round four.

It was a dirty day for Essendon, who had come into the match as favourites for the first time this season.

One notable positive was a fine AFL debut from defender Aaron Francis, their second pick at No.6 in last year's national draft.

Injury had delayed the start of his senior career and he immediately showed why the Bombers are so excited about his potential, taking some excellent intercept marks.

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