Brisbane Lions players celebrate after downing Essendon in their Round 15 clash.
Brisbane Lions players celebrate after downing Essendon in their Round 15 clash. JULIAN SMITH

Young Lions stun hosts with amazing fightback

AFL: They have endured their fair share of punishment recently but the Lions are readying themselves to give it back in the next few years.

A stunning victory over the Bombers on Sunday came on the back of a six-goal-to-two final quarter during which the young cubs stood up to be counted.

Led by veteran duo Dayne Zorko and Tom Rockliff in the midfield, a host of young Brisbane players stamped their authority on the match when the game was there to be won.

Brisbane midfielder Dayne Zorko (left) drives the ball into attack against Essendon.
Brisbane midfielder Dayne Zorko (left) drives the ball into attack against Essendon. JULIAN SMITH

Alex Witherden, playing in just his second game, racked up 29 disposals while Eric Hipwood, Hugh McCluggage, Harris Andrews, Daniel McStay and Jarrod Berry all played pivotal roles.

"There's an amazing amount of ability in this young side,” Gerard Healy said on Fox Footy.

"Sometimes I think their intensity levels drop below what is acceptable, but gee, if they can keep this group together they might have some fun over the next few years.”

Among the most impressive were Andrews and McStay, who consistently came up trumps against a stacked Essendon forward line featuring Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker.

While Daniher kicked two goals in the first term, young Andrews soon got on top in the contest and ultimately finished with 20 disposals and nine marks.

Lions youngster Harris Andrews (left) beats Essendon rival Joe Daniher to the ball.
Lions youngster Harris Andrews (left) beats Essendon rival Joe Daniher to the ball. JULIAN SMITH

"I really enjoyed playing on Joey,” Andrews told Fox Footy.

"He kicked a couple of goals early and I was a bit flat about that but a bit more pressure in the midfield really helped me in the second half.”

Hipwood kicked four goals in the win -leading to more Buddy comparisons - while Witherden looks almost certain to follow McCluggage last week and win a Rising Star nomination.

Playing in just his second game, the teenager finished with 29 disposals, eight marks and six rebounds out of Brisbane's defensive 50.



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