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Bombers prove too strong against Lions

Essendon Bombers controlled the Round 4 clash at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, defeating the previously unbeaten Brisbane Lions by 47 points. 

The Bombers' 17.10 (112) to 9.11 (65) win was an exhibition in just how lethal and damaging their slingshot style could be when they manage to get the game on their terms.

While Lachie Neale continued to win plenty of ball for the Lions, the Bombers just had many more contributors in the midfield, with Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis chief among them.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, so often a barometer for the Bombers, produced the standout display. His career best seven-goal haul, complementing 20 disposals and 10 marks, lifted the hosts and energised the crowd to put the Dons on the front foot.

Brownlow Medal fancy Lachie Neale was still prolific, racking up 40 disposals, 22 contested, and eight clearances. Yet Neale's impact was limited as the Bombers midfield got the upper hand from the outset.

In reality, that's where the damage was done, with the Dons putting their stamp on the contest in the first half, breaking from stoppages with more speed.

The pressure, particularly in Essendon's forward half of the ground, was relentless.

McDonald-Tipungwuti continued his strong form of the last fortnight, chasing and harassing at every contest, while some inventiveness from Devon Smith, Jake Stringer and Mark Baguley close to goal led to a host of clever scoring opportunities.

A feature of the Lions' three straight victories to start the year had been its fast finishes, with the young Lions brave in holding their nerve to close out a series of tight matches.

Indeed, the Lions attempted to make something out of the second half. It kicked four of six goals in the third term, but only managed to reduce a hefty deficit marginally. 

MEDICAL ROOM

Essendon: David Zaharakis was put through some tests on the boundary in the final term, after appearing to cop a knock to the inside of his knee. However, he was able to play out the game without much fuss. David Myers came from the field with blood streaming from his head late in the game after copping a boot to the face from Eric Hipwood.

Brisbane: Lachie Neale and Dayne Zorko were both crunched on either side of half time, but each quickly shook off the attentions of trainers to remain on the field. 

NEXT UP

Essendon gets its first taste of Good Friday footy when it meets North Melbourne, while Brisbane has a five-day break before hosting Collingwood on Thursday night.

ESSENDON    7.2    11.6     13.8     17.10 (112)
BRISBANE      2.2     3.5       7.8        9.11 (65)

GOALS
Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 7, Brown 3, Fantasia 2, McGrath 2, Baguley, Merrett, Stringer
Brisbane: McCluggage 2, McStay 2, McInerney, McCarthy, Mathieson, Berry, Hipwood

BEST
Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Zaharakis, Brown, Hooker, Heppell
Brisbane: Neale, Berry, McCluggage, Witherden, Zorko

INJURIES
Essendon: Myers (lacerated face)
Brisbane: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Whetton, Mitchell

Official crowd: 48,289 at the MCG

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs