AFL 2020: Brisbane Lions trounce Essendon – as it happened

A thoroughly dominant performance from Brisbane, who were cleaner, sharper and basically better than the Bombers. Essendon had their chances – they won the clearance count and had more inside 50s than the Lions – but were woefully inefficient. The Lions, on the other hand, were clinical from start to finish and looked dangerous every time they went forward.

Charlie Cameron was the dominant forward of the game – his four goals take him level with Tom Papley in the Coleman Medal standings – but Brisbane had winners everywhere. They sit snugly in second spot on the ladder – level on points with Port Adelaide – after winning seven of their first nine games for the first time since 2003. Their haul of 91 points tonight marks their highest score of the season. Conversely, Essendon will be forced to ponder their lowest score this century and a loss that drops them to eighth place with a percentage of just 88.2.

There’s enough time for Essendon to blow another shot on goal – sound familiar? – before the final siren sounds, putting the Bombers out of their misery and keeping the Lions perched at the pointy end of the ladder.

Q4: 1 mins remaining: Essendon 3-9 (27) vs Brisbane 14-7 (91) Goal! Wonderful tackle by McCarthy on Saad sets up Rayner, who kicks truly with his set shot. Hard until the end, the Lions have now registered their highest score of the season. Time for the mercy rule. The Bombers are shot.

Q4: 4 mins remaining: Essendon 3-8 (26) vs Brisbane 13-7 (85) Goal! That’s four for Cameron. Ballenden uses his big body to take a contested mark and then releases a mobile Cameron, who runs into an open goal to draw level with Tom Papley in the race for the Coleman Medal. No junk time goals for Essendon; the Lions are turning the screw.

Q4: 6 mins remaining: Essendon 3-7 (25) vs Brisbane 12-6 (78) Goal! More misery for the Bombers as CEY slots a set shot between the big sticks. The Lions have given their opposition a lesson in many things tonight. Efficiency is one of them.

Q4: 7 mins remaining: Essendon 3-7 (25) vs Brisbane 11-6 (72) Brilliant, brilliant rundown tackle from Charlie.

Q4: 9 mins remaining: Essendon 3-7 (25) vs Brisbane 11-6 (72) Ugh. Now Townsend butchers a set shot from directly in front. They’ve had more inside 50s than Brisbane tonight – 38-30 thus far – but the Bombers have been disgustingly wasteful.

Q4: 10 mins remaining: Essendon 3-6 (24) vs Brisbane 11-6 (72) Shiel ends up worse for wear after some friendly fire from Bellchambers – if that shoulder wound up on an opponent’s chin, he’d be looking at two weeks – and to add insult to injury, Stewart hits the post from a set shot.

Q4: 13 mins remaining: Essendon 3-5 (23) vs Brisbane 11-6 (72) Goal! The Lions counter attack and show Essendon how it’s done inside 50, Berry finding Zorko with a neat pass for another goal. Polished footy. They’re a very good team, the Lions.

Q4: 15 mins remaining: Essendon 3-5 (23) vs Brisbane 10-6 (66) Essendon win the first centre clearance of the term thanks to some good combination work from Draper and Shiel. The Bombers look likely in their forward 50 until Robinson clears the ball to center wing. AMT then snaps but the ball is touched through for a behind. Story of the Bombers’ night.

Five goals in the quarter from Brisbane and that is goodnight, nurse. The Bombers are all perspiration and no inspiration tonight: three goals to three-quarter-time won’t win many games of AFL footy and it won’t win this one.

Oh, that goal I didn’t see before … here it is. It’s been a good night for the debutants: first Draper with his hair/high marking for Essendon, and now this from Ballenden.

Q3: 1 min remaining: Essendon 3-4 (22) vs Brisbane 10-6 (66) Goal! That’s worth the admission alone. Cameron receives the ball from congestion in the right pocket and squeezes it through from a tight angle, squeezing those imaginary throttles in delight after kicking his third goal. Pure, unadulterated skill.

Q3: 2 mins remaining: Essendon 3-3 (21) vs Brisbane 9-6 (60) Goal! I did see this one. Parish wins a free kick hard on the boundary, 25 metres out, and curls it beautifully through the uprights. That’s one goal in each quarter so far from Essendon. They’re nothing if not consistent.

Q3: 4 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 9-6 (60) Goal! I wish I could say I saw it, but while I was typing Ballenden kicked another goal for the Lions. Getting out of hand now, both this match and my attention to detail.

Q3: 5 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 8-6 (54) Goal! McInerney takes a nice mark on the right pocket and could have a shot, but instead palms off to Hipwood who snaps around his body for a rather lovely goal. Two things to note: 1. Hipwood was on the wrong side of the boundary at the start of that exchange; 2. Hipwood didn’t seem to give McInerney any sort of credit. No tap on the bum or a bellowed, “that’s your goal, man!”. No biggie, I guess.

Q3: 7 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 7-6 (48) Absolute hanger from Draper – all 200cm and 100kg of this beast with a mullet. Nothing comes from it in terms of scoreboard conversion, but ladies and gentlemen I think we’ve found a new cult hero. Either that or just a big bloke with a bad hairdo who can play footy a bit. Ten out of 10 for effort here, but Essendon just can’t kick a score.

Q3: 11 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 7-5 (47) The Lions are getting on top in the clearances – it’s 5-1 this quarter – and try as Essendon might to slow the game, Brissie are returning to their first-quarter standard of spread and run. Looking dangerous. As in dam wall might break dangerous.

Q3: 14 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 7-5 (47) Goal! Hmm, disenchanted Essendon fans won’t be happy with this one. McGrath and Lyons go for a 50-50 ball near the Lions goal, McGrath gets there first, gets tackled and is pinged for holding the ball. Not sure about that. I am sure about the goal Lyons then kicks, however. That hurts. The Lions are now 5+ goals in front.

Q3: 15 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 6-5 (41) … the ball twanging to the other end faster than you can say coast-to-coast and into the hands of Skinner in the goal square, unattended, the result being a goal.

Q3: 15 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 5-5 (35) Nice centre clearance from the Bombers – and a tracer bullet of a pass from AMT – but Smith fluffs the chest mark, which leads to …

Four AFL clubs have been fined for breaching the league’s Covid-19 protocols over the past seven days.

Hawthorn received a $50,000 fine, of which $20,000 has been suspended for the remainder of the season. Richmond, Carlton and North Melbourne were each fined $45,000, with $20,000 suspended. All four teams have accepted their sanctions.

The Hawks’ breach occurred at their round-eight clash with Sydney at the SCG. Richmond, Carlton and North Melbourne’s breaches happened while the clubs were based in their Queensland hubs.

Hawthorn confirmed their breach was “a result of non-selected players entering into a public area” of the SCG. North Melbourne’s breach related to players’ partners attending a game, though the Kangaroos believed they had AFL approval at the time.

“Although the club believed it was operating with the full approval of the AFL and strongly suggests a communication breakdown is at fault, it accepts the decision that’s been handed down,” the Kangaroos said in a statement.

The Blues said a member of their travelling group had “inadvertently” breached protocols after seeking assistance with childcare duties. A Carlton player’s children had reportedly attended a theme park with their grandparents.

Meanwhile, Richmond confirmed an “unintentional” breach of protocols – reported to have been a player’s partner attending a beauty salon.

The AFL also detailed future sanctions for protocol breaches by “club people” – specified as players, club staff, players’ partners and family members and staff members’ partners and family members.

From Friday, a first offence will draw a sanction of up to $25,000 (50 per cent suspended), with $25,000 of that fine included in the 2020 soft cap. A second offence draws a fine up to $75,000, plus the $25,000 previously suspended for the first offence – with $100,000 included in the soft cap.

The penalty for third and/or subsequent offences will be at the discretion of the AFL Commission or general counsel Andrew Dillon and could include a monetary sanction, loss of premiership points or loss of draft picks.

Additional club officials, players and family members arrived in Queensland from Victoria this week, while Sydney and GWS are temporarily relocating to Brisbane ahead of their round nine and 10 matches.

A better quarter from Essendon. Bizarrely, they kicked just one goal but are somehow back in it after being outplayed in the opening stanza. After laying just two tackles in the opening term, the Bombers emerged from the break hungrier and turned the game into more of an arm wrestle. Brisbane’s run, and scoring, dried up but if Essendon are going to build on this they’re going to have to do more on the scoreboard. Their efficiency inside 50 to this point – a meagre 35.3% – just won’t do.

Seriously I know the #AFL are sucking up to the Queensland Government, but this is ridiculous. Some very very dubious decisions going the Lions way. That last in the back against Draper was so symbolic. #AFLDonsLions

Q2: 1 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 5-5 (35) Rayner misses his set shot to the left. The Bombers then slingshot the ball forward but Draper gives away a free for in the back, an unfair decision really given the Brisbane player went forward in the tackle. Draper’s majestic mane flows in the breeze as he shakes his head from side to side in bewilderment. Great to see. The mullet that is, not the decision.

Q2: 3 mins remaining: Essendon 2-3 (15) vs Brisbane 5-4 (34) Goal! Smith has been one of the few to look likely this quarter and he’s the one to convert as Essendon work the ball into their forward 50, not too prettily, but the small forward is where he needs to be to crumb and split the sticks with a deft snap. Nineteen points the difference and Brisbane not working the ball forward as freely as in the first quarter. Interesting.

Q2: 5 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-4 (34) Hipwood misses again – this time the whole box and dice – meaning a grand total of one point has been scored in over 11 minutes of footy. Both teams spreading and setting up well behind the ball. Gut running galore to get the counter going. Smith looks to score with a long bomb but Robinson marks on the line.

Q2: 8 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-4 (34) Hipwood – my, has he been quiet – gets his chance to impact the game but his set shot misses to the right. Eight minutes in, we have a change of score.

Q2: 9 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-3 (33) McCluggage has a chance to finally move the scoreboard on, but he hits the behind post and it’s as you were.

Q2: 11 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-3 (33) The Bombers are looking harder at it this quarter, tackling stronger and sooner. I think ‘pressure’ is the word I’m looking for. Neale gets a free kick and dishes off his 10th disposal of the night. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is loitering with (a lack of) intent. Don’t think he’s touched leather yet.

Q2: 15 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-3 (33) A couple of free kicks to Essendon starts to address that particular statistical imbalance. Involved in one of the early exchanges is James Stewart, who tonight is playing his first AFL game in 790 days. Welcome back, James. Loved you in Vertigo.

It was all Brisbane at the start and at the end of the first term – in between times Essendon weren’t terrible, but they still go to the break four goals to the bad. The Lions are simply doing more with their chances and are generally cleaner going forward.

Q1: 1 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 5-3 (33) Another off-the-ball free sets up Neale, who converts from close range in the dying seconds of the first quarter.

Q1: 1 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 4-3 (27) Goal! Cameron keeps his feet in a 1-on-1 in the goal square, palms the ball onto his boot and volleys it through for his second major of the night. For good measure, he then lets Zerk-Thatcher know in no uncertain terms that he owned him in that particular exchange. Box office. Wear No 23 for a reason, does Charlie.

Q1: 2 mins remaining: Essendon 1-3 (9) vs Brisbane 3-3 (21) The Bombers have done a good job at keeping it in their forward 50, but Cutler misses a set shot from not far out that he really should have drilled.

Q1: 4 mins remaining: Essendon 1-2 (8) vs Brisbane 3-3 (21) Goal! Cameron concedes a silly 50m penalty, putting Devon Smith within striking range and he makes no mistake. Blimey – from the centre bounce, Smith then has another shot – a snap from hard on the boundary – and it is heading towards goal, but the Bombers’ last line retreats and touches through for a behind.

Q1: 7 mins remaining: Essendon 0-1 (1) vs Brisbane 3-3 (21) A miss from Draper at least gets the Bombers on the board, at most gives us a meaningful perve at that outstanding mullet. Shaved sides and all. Nice.

Q1: 8 mins remaining: Essendon 0-0 (0) vs Brisbane 3-3 (21) Sam Skinner, another ripping name, has a set shot and a chance to extend Brisbane’s lead – which he does, but only by a point after hitting the woodwork. And then Zorko misses from a similar distance.

Q1: 11 mins remaining: Essendon 0-0 (0) vs Brisbane 3-1 (19) Goal! The Lions hunt in packs, work the ball out of defence and this latest irrepressible burst ends up with Neale, who snaps truly from about 35 metres out. It’s all Brisbane so far, just like it was all Carlton in the first quarter earlier on. Just saying.

Q1: 13 mins remaining: Essendon 0-0 (0) vs Brisbane 2-1 (13) Goal! Real issues for the Bombers here with Brisbane dominating close to the ground. Cameron crumbs a loose ball, fumbles but manages to retain his composure to soccer through from just outside the goal square. Only one side in it early on.

Q1: 14 mins remaining: Essendon 0-0 (0) vs Brisbane 1-1 (7) Goal! More superb work out of congestion sees McCarthy end up on a chain of handpasses and he snaps truly for the game’s first major.

Q1: 15 mins remaining: Essendon 0-0 (0) vs Brisbane 0-1 (1) Good clearance work from the Lions finds Charlie Cameron on the lead. Fresh from signing a five-year contract extension, Charlie fluffs his lines and misses his set shot to the left. That’s footy.

Not long to go, just enough time for a few words from Ezra Finkelstien. Love the name.

Brisbane have come a long way over the last few years.It was only recently that they were getting smashed each week and fired coaches more frequently than Mitch Robinson changes hairstyles. Ever since Chris Fagan came in the team has been transformed, now just need to win finals footy.

Wishing Majak Daw all the very best on his return to the AFL tomorrow against Adelaide, 700-plus days since has last senior appearance. He’s done it real tough, Majak, and is now emerging on the other side. Give yourself a treat before this game starts and have a read of Rohan Connolly’s piece on this tortured, inspirational fellow.

Carlton led Hawthorn by five goals during the first quarter but have just lost by five goals. Weird? Not at all. These are the days of our lives.

So back to those debutants – not debutantes as I once wrote as a clueless young journalist. Not that I assume the foetal position and suck my thumb when I relive the moment a senior sub-editor let me know in no uncertain terms that a debutante is a young woman who announces her arrival as societal force at a ball, or something like that. I digress. Back to tonight’s newcomers, I was rather excited when doing my daily trawl to come across this headline: Lions, Dons to hand debuts to 200cm, 100kgs beasts. Knowing full well these hectic schedules are stretching lists to the limit, I feared Brisbane and Essendon had journeyed to the centre of the earth for reinforcements. But no, it’s just Connor Ballenden and Sam Draper. Which is reassuring.

Congratulations to Adam Saad and Mitch Robinson, the former celebrating his 100th AFL appearance tonight and the latter his 200th. These are the occasions of which young footballers dream. I bet neither envisaged doing so in front of a half-empty stadium – please excuse my negative view; pre-Covid I was definitely a glass-half-full guy – or in Saad’s case, in a ‘home’ game on the Gold Coast. Continuing the theme of A Clockwork Orange, had Mitch Robinson been around in 1971 and seeking acting roles, I’d bet London to a brick Stanley Kubrick would’ve cast him in a heartbeat. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. The most muscular actor that never was.

I can’t describe how proud we all are of your accomplishment tonight – here’s to another 100. @essendonfc #AFLDonsLions #100games

Good evening and welcome to day three of A Clockwork [insert your team’s colours here], the AFL’s small-screen epic coming to a lounge room near you. Run time is 28,800 minutes and you will need matchsticks. This fixture between Essendon and Brisbane is game No 4 of the fête de footy, meaning after tonight there are 29 matches across 17 days to enjoy (endure?) before we can have a night off to check back in on life’s evil necessities. Like spending time with the family. Richmond and Port Adelaide have already enjoyed resounding victories this round, and as we speak Hawthorn are doing just the better in a see-sawing game against Carlton. The formbook and the ladder insist the Lions will be too strong at Metricon, but both teams are missing players due to injury, suspension and, in the lingo of the times, player management. Jayden Laverde is a notable out for the Bombers, as are Daniel McStay and Daniel Rich for Brissie. Both teams will field a debutant, but more on that later. It’s the Lions for me, by about five goals. That is your cue to bet responsibly and invest in Essendon – in the name of disclosure, I am coming 15,784th out of about 18,000 in my tipping competition. Only the Crows are more hopeless than I. Looking forward to this one. To keep me company and have your humble opinion heard, send an email or tweet @scott_heinrich


Brisbane Lions, Essendon Football Club, Australian Football League, Charlie Cameron

World news – AU – AFL 2020: Brisbane Lions trounce Essendon – as it happened

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