Lions keep finals dream alive with comprehensive win over Bulldogs (2024)

The Brisbane Lions have injected life into their inconsistent AFL campaign by registering an emphatic 43-point win against the Western Bulldogs at Docklands Stadium

Returning to the venue of their disappointing defeat to Hawthorn before the bye, the Lions battered the Bulldogs in the middle to set the tone for the 17.12 (114) to 10.11 (71) victory on Friday night.

Brisbane sent Jarrod Berry to tag Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli, who was coming off a heroic performance against Collingwood, in what proved to be a masterstroke.

Berry had 14 dispoals to Bontempelli's six at halftime as Brisbane led by 33 points, while the Lions' best midfielder Lachie Neale was dominating with 20 touches and a crucial goal just before the half-time siren.

Neale was back to his Brownlow Medal-winning best, with 38 possessions, 10 clearances and two goals.

Lions keep finals dream alive with comprehensive win over Bulldogs (1)

Brisbane came out on top in the clearance battle 50-32, dominating the in-form Bontempelli and Adam Treloar out of the centre.

But the brilliance of Bontempelli was not completely blunted after the superstar pushed forward to kick three goals in the absence of Bulldog forwards Sam Darcy (suspension) and Aaron Naughton (knee).

However, it wasn't just Neale and Berry inflicting damage for the Lions, with oft-maligned forward Eric Hipwood kicking an equal-career high six goals after missing the match against the Hawks due to suspension.

In one of the best games of Hipwood's career, it was the 26-year-old's best goal return since 2019 as he also created a strong threat in the air.

Fellow tall forward Joe Daniher was important early, with the duo making amends for a horror night in the corresponding game against the Bulldogs last year.

Young forward Logan Morris put himself in contention for a Rising Star nomination by snaring an exciting goal on the run and playing a crucial role in setting up many others.

Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore, who returned after missing three games due to concussion, could find himself in trouble with the match review officer after punching Berry in the throat.

Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.

Key events

  • FT: Lions streak away to a 43-point win over Bulldogs
  • 3QT: Lions hold a 32-point lead over the Bulldogs
  • Did Lachie Neale beat the buzzer with this goal?

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Live updates

Pinned

Lions def Bulldogs by 43 points

By Dean Bilton

That's it from the blog tonight!

By Dean Bilton

A brilliant night for Brisbane and some worries for the Western Bulldogs. Yet again we come away from a game of footy with next to no idea as to how the eight will shape up by the end of this season.

I'll be back tomorrow for some Saturday footy, and I hope to see you then. Thanks for your company, and goodnight.

Lachie Neale proud of his midfield men

By Dean Bilton

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A word from Lachie Neale, who spoke to Channel Seven straight after the game about the performance of his midfield group:

"We have been challenged. I feel like we have set ourselves for the good midfields, some really good midfields like Gold Coast and Melbourne and the Bulldogs.

"We have got to do it more consistently now. We have let ourselves down in the midfield a few times and let the side down. To come out against who I think's probably the most talented and best midfield in the comp and deliver was special.

"I've got full faith in this group that we can go all the way. We are still a long way off, but it's a long season."

Key Event

FT: Lions streak away to a 43-point win over Bulldogs

By Dean Bilton

Lions keep finals dream alive with comprehensive win over Bulldogs (2)

A complete domination from Brisbane, and a rising to the occasion on a night that could have had serious repercussions for this team.

It all started in the midfield, led incredibly well by Lachie Neale but ably supported by Jarrod Berry, Josh Dunkley and Hugh McCluggage. The star of the show was Eric Hipwood, who set the tone with his all round play and cashed in with six goals.

Tonight is a step back for the Bulldogs, after what looked to be a big step forward last week. They've missed a chance to grab a spot in the top eight, and come the end of the season these games against similarly placed teams will be the crucial ones. Perhaps this could be the one they reflect on.

This season remains completely unpickable. It's wide open all the way down to 12th, where the Lions currently sit poised to strike.

Zac Bailey slots another one! It's out to 44 points

By Dean Bilton

With under a minute to go, Zac Bailey rubs some salt into the Bulldogs wounds.

That's 17 goals for the nights now for the Lions. Some night.

Eric Hipwood has half a dozen!

By Dean Bilton

He's never kicked more than six in his career. I reckon this is just about as good as Eric Hipwood has played.

He's crashed packs, made leads and crucially finished his work in front of goal. Everything you want from Eric Hipwood has been delivered tonight, and it has made Brisbane look a completely different team.

Marcus Bontempelli takes a hanger and kicks his third

By Dean Bilton

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This might be Bont's quietest game of the year, and he's now kicked three goals. He's pretty good, in case you didn't know.

The specky up the back of Payne was icing on the cake. You can never question Bontempelli's effort.

Zac Bailey slams one through, and that will be that!

By Dean Bilton

If it wasn't over already, that Bailey goal makes sure of it. It's going to be a big night for Brisbane, one that should instill all kinds of confidence within them that there is still something to fight for this year.

Bailey has worked hard all night, and finally gets some reward with a sharp finish from the pocket.

Caleb Daniel with a howler in front of goal

By Dean Bilton

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan had been awarded a free kick 20 from goal, and Daniel knew that very well when he decided to play on and take a silly advantage from the pocket.

He missed and immediately begun apologising. There shan't be any miracle comebacks tonight.

Lachie Neale hits straight back to burst the Bulldogs' bubble!

By Dean Bilton

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The Lions have been so efficient at destroying any granule of Bulldogs hope tonight.

Starcevich won another critical one-on-one against Sanders at half-forward, found Neale in the pocket and let him do the rest.

Rhylee West kicks a quick one to start the last term

By Dean Bilton

If they're going to get something happening, they needed to strike early. A quick Bontempelli clearance and West mark gives them exactly the start outside.

It's 26 points now with effectively the whole quarter remaining. Not impossible, I guess.

Key Event

3QT: Lions hold a 32-point lead over the Bulldogs

By Dean Bilton

Lions keep finals dream alive with comprehensive win over Bulldogs (3)

It was a closer quarter, in so far as the Bulldogs stopped being utterly demolished in the key areas they were in the first half. But they didn't do enough to win the quarter, let alone cut into the lead in a meaningful way.

The Lions haven't taken their foot off the throat and are en route to one of their bigger scores of the season. Even if the Bulldogs could pull the margin back a little, protecting their strong percentage could be valuable. Letting the Lions run away with it could be damaging to their prospects down the road.

Joe Daniher hands Kai Lohmann a goalsquare gift!

By Dean Bilton

The height of generosity from Joey Daniher, who dishes off a handball to Lohmann in the goalsquare. There was no reason to do that at all, other than being a good fella to his young teammate.

The Lions remain very comfortable in this game.

It's all kicking off now! Riley Garcia finishes the goal

By Dean Bilton

I'm not even entirely sure what has gone down there. Garcia won the initial free kick and then got a 50m penalty for an indiscretion from McKenna.

While he was being marched to the square, McInerney went after West and was giving him absolute both barrels with the verbals. There is some spice in this game now, and a 28-point margin.

Cam Rayner stalls that Bulldogs comeback quickly

By Dean Bilton

The Lions have seemed to win every critical contest, every tight one-on-one all night. This time it was Zac Bailey who beat Caleb Daniel to a loose ball, setting up Rayner out the back for an easy mark and goal.

Brisbane's good players are all playing really well tonight. It's back out to 34 points.

James O'Donnell has a second goal and the Dogs have two in a row

By Dean Bilton

Okay, now maybe something might be moving. Again Bontempelli was involved, this time sending the penetrating ball deep to the advantage of O'Donnell.

He marked strongly over Payne and finished off his work. It's back to 28 points.

Marcus Bontempelli snaps his second and the Dogs get one back

By Dean Bilton

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He's doing his best to lift in this third term, and don't the Dogs need him to.

A crafty crumb and snap from Bont might just inspire something from his side. They're coming from a long way back.

Contradictions welcomed!

By Dean Bilton

Hello Dean, Not wanting to contradict you, but I reckon Neil did beat the siren...

- Mike in Brisbane

Any and all opinions are welcome here Mike! And given Lachie Neale's ability to bend time and space to his own will with the ball in hand, who am I to disagree?

Eric Hipwood has five! Lions kick further ahead!

By Dean Bilton

All it took was one successful crumb from Rayner at half-forward and the Dogs were totally exposed. Hipwood has been out the back of Jones regularly and has been winning the one-on-one contests from there.

Hipwood played on before Jones was ready and slammed home number five. He's playing one of the best games of his career tonight.

Key Event

Did Lachie Neale beat the buzzer with this goal?

By Dean Bilton

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You be the judge.

Actually, I'll be the judge. He did not.

Lions keep finals dream alive with comprehensive win over Bulldogs (2024)
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