LONG TIME COMING: Lions coach Justin Leppitsch and his players celebrate their win over Essendon.
LONG TIME COMING: Lions coach Justin Leppitsch and his players celebrate their win over Essendon. TRACEY NEARMY

Young Lions savour the sweet taste of victory

ESSENDON appears certain to claim its first wooden spoon in 83 years – and deny a relieved Brisbane of that “honour”.

With all the pressure on the Lions to perform, perform they did at Etihad Stadium, ending a club-record losing streak of 12 games in convincing fashion, 20.8 (128) to 12.19 (91).

It was their first win since the round-four QClash victory over the Gold Coast, and lifted them a game clear of the Bombers, who have now suffered 15 straight defeats.

For the likes of Eric Hipwood and Rhys Mathieson, it was a chance to savour the sweet taste of victory – literally, by way of the traditional Gatorade shower when standing in middle of the team circle as the players finally belted out the club song.

Though they were the underdogs, the Lions, and in particular coach Justin Leppitsch, would have had the blowtorch turned up on them even more if they had lost.

Instead, the heat decreases ever so slightly after maligned pair Tom Rockliff (38 disposals) and Daniel Rich (27) dominated possession for the visitors, along with Pearce Hanley (31), Ryan Bastinac (30) and ruckman Stef Martin (25), who won his battle with former Lion Matthew Leuenberger.

Tom Cutler (two goals) and Liam Dawson (two) also showed glimpses up forward, where ex-Cat Josh Walker (four goals) played his best game as the Lions kicked six goals to one in the third term to extend their half-time lead from 13 points to 40 and put the result beyond doubt.

Zach Merrett (34 disposals) was the best of the Bombers, who will surely take some consolation out of the fact that with the “spoon” will come their first ever No.1 draft pick.


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