Essendon VFL has suffered a 66-point loss to the Brisbane Lions in its season opener at Moreton Bay Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Bombers were outclassed with Brisbane leading by 69 points at the main break, and although the Dons outscored the Lions in the second half, the home team had already sealed the deal en route to a 15.13 (103) to 5.8 (37) victory.
It was clear the Lions were firing right out of the gate, kicking the first five unanswered goals.
The Bombers struggled to win clearances and get the ball into their forward half, and when they did manage to enter their forward 50, Brisbane’s defence was just too strong.
Senior-listed Bomber Andrew Phillips, who battled hard all day, was able to secure himself a free kick after an impressive tackle in the Dons’ inside 50, which landed the team its first goal of the game.
The home side continued to dominate into the second quarter as it kicked the first goal of the term, with the Bombers still struggling to take a mark inside 50.
Although the Dons did up the pressure in the second quarter, two missed set-shot opportunities from Sam Paea and Lachlan Johnson meant they were unable to hit the scoreboard.
The Bombers were off to a better start after the half-time break with Phillips continuing his impressive form, taking a mark inside 50 within the first 30 seconds of the third term and securing his second goal.
As fatigue mounted in the last quarter, ruckman Nick Bryan was able to pick up his game and was very lively with a couple of impressive clearances and telling marks, which certainly made an impact. The Bombers eventually outscored the Lions in the second half by four goals to three.
The Lions’ skillful performance in the first half meant the lead was too big for the Dons, who ultimately succumbed to a 66-point defeat.
The Bombers will face off against Collingwood at Victoria Park next Saturday from 2pm.
BRISBANE 7.5 12.7 14.8 15.13 (103)
ESSENDON 1.2 1.4 4.6 5.8 (37)
Goals: Phillips 2, Smithson, Atley, Brown