The Lions have relished their long-awaited return to VFL football celebrating a commanding 11-goal victory over Essendon on Saturday.

Brisbane took up in the VFL where they left off in the NEAFL by extending their unbeaten streak in official competition to 21 matches with the 15.14 (104) to 5.8 (38) victory at the Moreton Bay Sports Complex.

The win did come at a cost with Ely Smith injuring his ankle in the opening half after making a strong start.

At that stage he was battling with Deven Robertson for best on ground honours.

Robertson also only played the first half as he was the emergency for the AFL side, but can be well satisfied with the 21 possessions he had to his name when he hit the showers.

Ruckman Archie Smith also suffered an ankle injury but, with the side already down two rotations, battled on to finish the game and earn the praise of coach Mitch Hahn.

“Ely was going well and Dev played a huge first half and to have neither of them for the second half in those conditions was a challenge for us,’’ he said.

“Archie did a great job for the team by staying out there.

“He went to full forward and was able to have an influence for us there with a couple of goals.’’

The Lions flew out of the blocks with a blistering seven goals to one opening quarter and were never threatened.

AFL coach Chris Fagan wants the reserves players putting pressure on those in the senior team and that’s exactly what he got with Rhys Mathieson having 31 touches and Connor Ballenden gathering 29 possessions and taking 15 marks.

Ballenden played at centre half back and was part of a defensive unit that included Brock Smith, Jimmy Madden and Carter Michael who performed strongly.

Nakia Cockatoo also showed encouraging signs in his second game for the Club.

Hahn described it as a strong all-round team performance and said he was particularly happy with how hard the players worked, particularly when short on numbers in the second half.

The best example of the work ethic came from school-aged running machine Harry Sharp who ran himself into the ground.

“He just ran up and down that wing all day,’’ he said.

“When the Club’s best runner is cramping you know he’s put in a huge effort.’’

Hahn was also encouraged by the contribution of development players Will Tasker, Saxon Crozier and Toby Triffett.