One of the concerns over Brisbane in the past few seasons is that it could win only one way.

If the Lions weren't winning stoppages and camping the ball in their front half to feed their potent attacking mix, they'd struggle to beat the best teams, the theory went. Saturday night's win against Essendon was another example of how Chris Fagan's team has matured and has more strings to their bow than ever.

Earlier in the year, it was forward 50 stoppage domination against the vaunted Melbourne midfield that helped them get past the Demons.

Against Collingwood, it was an aggressive, close-down-space defence that rattled the Magpies, and last week against Carlton it was manic forward pressure that forced untold Blues' turnovers to fuel their scoring.


And against the Bombers, it was a subtle shift to level up numbers ahead of the ball and go longer and more direct to their tall targets that helped overcome a frustrating first half.

So far in 2023, this is a composed Lions team capable of winning in different ways.