Brisbane stars Lachie Neale and Charlie Cameron have powered the Lions to a thumping 63-point AFL win against Essendon in Carrara.
- The win moves Brisbane to 28 competition points, level with ladder leaders Port Adelaide
- Charlie Cameron (four goals) and Lachie Neale (two goals) were among Brisbane’s best against Essendon
- Hawthorn’s win over Carlton in Perth breaks a four-match losing streak
Also on Friday evening, Hawthorn eased the pressure on coach Alastair Clarkson by coming from five goals down to beat Carlton by 31 points in Perth.
The high-flying Lions were never troubled from the opening bounce against the Bombers, booting 14.7 (91) to 3.10 (28) to canter to their seventh win of the season.
Their third-straight victory leaves the Lions equal with ladder leaders Port Adelaide on 28 points, six clear of the third-placed Richmond.
Prolific midfielder Neale and electric forward Cameron (four goals), whose four-year contract extension with the Lions was announced before the match, ran riot as the Lions recorded their highest score of the season.
With a 33-possession, two-goal display, Neale is likely to again poll three votes as he continues to charge towards his first Brownlow Medal.
Cameron set the match alight in the first quarter, booting two goals to propel the Lions to a 24-point lead at quarter-time.
His next goal, coming in the third quarter, was a goal-of-the-year contender with a dribbling effort from the pocket.
All-Australian Harris Andrews and Alex Witherden, who was recalled for his first match since round one, were tremendous down back to restrict the Bombers to their lowest score of 2020.
Brisbane piled three goals on the board before Essendon could even score.
The second quarter was a slog, with the Bombers kicking one goal to the Lions’ two behinds.
But the match opened up again after half-time, with Brisbane kicking five goals in the third quarter to completely break the spirit of the Bombers.
On a dark night for the Bombers, midfielder Andrew McGrath was by far Essendon’s best with 25 possessions.
Hawks complete remarkable comeback
Playing not long after both clubs learned they had been fined by the AFL for COVID-19 protocol breaches, the Hawks looked headed for their fifth straight defeat after Carlton raced out to a 31-0 lead inside the opening 16 minutes.
But Hawthorn turned the match on its head from that point on, booting nine of the next 10 goals to set up the 14.5 (89) to 9.4 (58) win in front of 12,304 spectators.
The result leaves Hawthorn and Carlton both with 4-5 win-loss records.
Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps dominated the opening term with 11 disposals and three clearances, before finishing with 27 disposals, eight clearances and 1.2.
Cripps also earned seven free kicks for the match, a stark contrast to last week when the umpires failed to notice him being held off the ball against North Melbourne.
But he missed two big chances on goal when the Blues desperately needed to stem Hawthorn’s momentum.
Blues forward Levi Casboult (three goals) looked dangerous every time he flew for a mark, but he did not receive enough supply.
Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell (28 disposals) was busy through the middle, while Jack Gunston booted three goals from 16 disposals and also took three contested marks.
Carlton made a dream start to the match, smashing the Hawks in all the major key stats to open up an imposing early lead with five goals on the board before their opponents could register their first point.
The Blues still led by 25 points early in the second quarter before the Hawks made their move.
The Hawks piled on six unanswered goals in the space of 17 minutes to take a 13-point lead into half-time, with Carlton made to pay dearly for a series of turnovers.
Hawthorn players mobbed Jarman Impey when the speedster kicked a goal in the third quarter in his first match back from a knee reconstruction.
The margin was 24 points at the final change, and the Blues were unable to breach the gap in the last quarter.