Joe Daniher kicked a career-best six goals in a slick second-half display by Essendon that propelled them to a convincing 58-point win against Brisbane on Sunday.
After a tight first half where the lead changed hands eight times, the slick Bombers found another gear and powered away to the 21.10 (136) to 12.6 (78) win.
James Hird’s side have copped some criticism for at times playing a slower, defensive game and their willingness to play on and move the ball quickly with the roof open at Etihad Stadium allowed them to kick their highest score of the season.
Daniher provided a strong presence in attack where he took eight marks – five of them contested – and was well-supported by Paul Chapman and Adam Cooney, who finished with three goals and was involved in four others.
Both veterans were playing their first games back from injury absences, but the match didn’t end well for Chapman who limped to the bench clutching his right hamstring in the last quarter and did not return.
The final margin looked unlikely early as the Lions took the game right up to the hosts.
Tom Rockliff was important with 18 possessions in the first half, while Josh Green kicked three goals as Brisbane trailed by just five points at halftime.
But the Bombers made their move in the third quarter, kicking seven goals to two, with the Lions managing just four goals in the second half.
Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker impressed in the back half for the Bombers and Brent Stanton was influential through the middle with 25 disposals.
Rockliff finished with 27 possessions for Brisbane, with Marco Paparrone (22), Dayne Beams (20) and Stefan Martin (18 touches and 27 hitouts) also important.