The Redland Bombers have produced their first win of the season in emphatic fashion, making the most of a first quarter blitzkrieg to stun the Brisbane Lions by 13 points at Tidbold Park on Saturday afternoon.
The early drizzly conditions didn’t suit a Lions side which contained seven players standing at 195cm and above, as Redland burst out of the blocks full of running and ready to win the hard ball.
A 37-point quarter-time lead and late goals when the game was in the balance proved enough for the Bombers to hang on 17.15 (117) to 16.8 (104) winners. Redlands procured 12 of their 17 goals from small forwards and midfielders, Aaron Christensen starring with four majors and captain Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds outstanding with 26 disposals and eight tackles. Former Lion Jackson Paine, former Lions Academy member Soul Cormick and club stalwart Matt Thomson all booted three goals. After the home side dominated the first term 6.8 to 1.1 the second and third quarters were shoot-outs, with the Lions gradually chipping away at the Bombers lead. Early in the third quarter it looked like they might overrun the Bombers as Matt Hammelmann came to life, kicking 2.1 in the space of three minutes.
Goals to Matt Thomson and Clay Cameron steadied the ship for Redlands, taking a 27-point lead into the final change. But the Lions kept coming, Jono Freeman scoring before Corey Lyons steamed inside 50 unopposed to kick a goal and when Matt Hammelmann kicked truly, the margin was back to just nine. Luke Rogerson had a chance to stem the Lions momentum but pulled the kick to the left, before Brisbane stormed up the other end and Oscar McInerney tumbled a punt through from a pack to bring the margin back to four. It was as close as Brisbane would get for the remainder of the match, Matt Thomson eventually kicking the sealing goal.
Bombers coach Leigh Harding was pleased with the victory.
“(It was a) super effort; we’ve been building to this for a couple of weeks. The first four weeks weren’t what we were expecting but at the bye we got a break and reassessed what we were doing,” he said.