Hird claims drought-breaker for Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird claims drought-breaker for Bombers

By Sam Lienert 29/07/2006 10:22:38 PM Comments (0)

Essendon star James Hird turned on a match-winning performance in his return from injury to help the Bombers break a 15-match winless streak in their AFL clash with Brisbane at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

The Bombers, who had gone desperately close to victory in their past two matches - with a three-point loss to St Kilda and a draw against Carlton - finally triumphed on Saturday 25.10 (160) to 18.15 (123).

It was their first win since beating Sydney in the opening round almost four months ago and lifted the Bombers off the bottom of the ladder, ahead of Carlton, at least until the Blues play Fremantle on Sunday.

It also dealt a near-fatal blow to the Lions' hopes of making the finals, with Brisbane now needing to win its remaining five matches to have any chance of September action.

Adding to Brisbane's pain, ruckman Jamie Charman was stretchered off in the final term with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, after he fell heavily after a collision with Essendon ruckman David Hille.

Hird, who had missed the past three games with a calf injury, was inspiring, kicking four goals for the match.

His haul included the opening goal of the final term, the first of eight for the Bombers as they ran away with what had been a tight, see-sawing encounter for the first three quarters.

Having started up forward and mixed that with stints in the midfield, he also picked up 27 disposals, the most of any player in the match.

With the 33-year-old weighing up whether to make this his last season, he would have at least dismissed any doubts about whether he can still make a significant contribution on the field with his performance on Saturday.

The Bombers trailed by five points at the first change and two points at half-time, but swung the game their way with a 7.1 to 5.3 third term to lead by eight points at the final change.

They then put the game beyond doubt with the first four goals of the final quarter to open up a 31-point lead.

Their relief at realising they were finally assured of a victory was obvious as they enthusiastically celebrated goals late in the match and the crowd of 32,761 also let out some mighty roars of approval as the Bombers piled on late goals.

Key forward Scott Lucas had a night out with seven goals - three in the second quarter and four in the last - in the high-scoring match, with tall utility Kepler Bradley booting four.

For Brisbane, Daniel Bradshaw played well for six majors.

The Bombers had some excellent contributors in the midfield, most notably veterans Jason Johnson and Scott Camporeale.

For the Lions, midfielders Simon Black and Luke Power were good performers.

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