Lions learn AFL lesson in tempo control

The Brisbane Lions didn’t take a backwards step on Sunday despite being blown away by a second-half Essendon onslaught, according to midfielder Ryan Lester.

The Lions were in the hunt for a third win a row, trailing by just five points at halftime at Etihad Stadium – but they were destroyed after the break when the Bombers piled on a whopping 12 goals to four, securing a 58-point victory.

Lester said his young teammates could only watch on in horror as the Bombers upped the tempo and ran away with the contest in clinical style.

“We knew we probably weren’t going to win a shootout against Essendon,” he said on Monday.

“That first half was a really quick game and that’s probably not how we’re best suited at this stage.

“We knew that at halftime and tried to slow the game down but to Essendon’s credit they were able to keep the ball moving and expose us a little bit.

“Just those short kicks, mark, retain possession, take some time off the clock, take the momentum out of the game, take the sting out of the game … we weren’t able to do it.

“To Essendon’s credit, they did their research over the past couple of weeks.

“When we were out there they kept talking about moving the ball and play on, play on, play on.”

Lester said the Lions had to heed the lessons of the loss and re-double their efforts on restricting opposition momentum.

“I definitely don’t feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back,” he said.

“That’s the quality of the competition. If you’re off your game for 10 or 15 minutes, it can turn. That’s what we learnt in the third quarter.

“It’s round eight and we’re a young team. There’s plenty of time to implement those things. It’s still exciting times at the club.”

Brisbane hosts St Kilda on Sunday at the Gabba, who also have just two wins for the season but sit just ahead on the ladder in 15th position due to a stronger percentage.

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