Bombers, Lions aim for elusive AFL win

Having doubled his AFL career games tally in less than a season, Mitch Brown wants another win.

The key forward has been one of the successes of Essendon’s unprecedented season, where doping suspensions for 12 players meant a recast side and a different outlook.

For the first time this year the Bombers will head into Sunday’s Etihad Stadium match against Brisbane as favourites.

Essendon have shown strong signs of life in the last month, with near-misses against GWS, St Kilda and Richmond.

Brown said it was time to capitalise on that improvement.

“We started the year pretty well, but the last month we’ve really come into our own – we have some form,” he said.

“So we’re feeling pretty confident at the moment … We’ve been in the game up until the last quarter.

“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to finish off – that’s the challenge for the rest of the year.”

But after several weeks of poor form and media scrutiny, the Lions also lack nothing for motivation.

Essendon and Brisbane are on the bottom of the ladder with a win apiece, meaning Sunday’s loser most likely will end this season with the wooden spoon.

There has been speculation about what another loss might do to the future of coach Justin Leppitsch at Brisbane.

“We think they’re going to come out firing, because they’ve been battling a bit as well,” Brown said.

“It’s just who can maintain that pressure for the longest.”

After four frustrating seasons at Geelong Brown is more than making up for lost time with the Bombers.

He and Zach Merrett are the only two Bombers to have played in every NAB Challenge and regular-season game this season.

It is something Brown could never have imagined when Geelong delisted him at the end of 2014, having managed just 15 senior games in four injury-interrupted seasons.

Thanks to his persistence and Essendon’s supplements saga, Brown has more than doubled his AFL tally to 31 matches.

He also has a contract for next season.

“I was pretty confident after I was delisted, that if I had a pretty good year in the VFL that I’d be a high chance to be picked up again,” Brown said.

“So I just went back and worked on some things, to improve my game.

“I was very thankful to Essendon for drafting me.”

Brown and Joe Daniher have been the key forwards in Essendon’s attack, which is starting to look more potent as the team improves.

Essendon are the lowest-scoring team in the AFL this season and are yet to pass 100 points in a match.

But they have had more scoring shots than the opposition in their last two matches, with inaccuracy particularly costly against the Tigers.

Brown said he and his fellow Essendon forwards had been working on their goalkicking.

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