With Essendon taking on the Brisbane Lions this weekend, we look back at the famous 2001 Grand Final that started it all for one of the greatest teams of the modern era.
Just five years after the struggling Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions merged to create the Brisbane Lions Football Club, the competitions newest side had a chance at glory.
But they faced some mighty competition, in reigning premiers Essendon.
The Bombers had comprehensively beaten Melbourne in the 2000 decider and narrowly missed out on the Grand Final in 1999 after an upset one point loss to Carlton in the Preliminary Final.
Kevin Sheedy’s men had only lost 11 games from the start of 1999 to the 2001 Grand Final.
But the star studded Lions side, which featured the likes of Michael Voss, Simon Black, Jason Akermanis, Jonathan Brown, Alastair Lynch, Nigel Lappin, Martin Pike and Luke Power were fantastic from the outset, leading at quarter time by five points, despite being inaccurate in front of goal.
However, Essendon’s experience shone in the second quarter, as the Bombers fought back to head into the main break with a 14 point lead.
But as is often the case, the third quarter was the premiership quarter, with the Lions kicking six goals to one to grab a 16 point lead heading into the last quarter.
Brisbane’s hard bodied midfield; led by captain Michael Voss was pivotal in breaking the Bombers down.
Brisbane looked to record a huge victory and led by as much as 39 points in the last quarter before Essendon scored two late goals to cut the margin to 26 by the final siren, to see Brisbane win 15.18 108 to Essendon’s 12.10 82.
Star Full-Forward Matthew Lloyd kicked five goals for Essendon, while Brisbane’s Shaun Hart won the Norm Smith Medal with 23 disposals.
The win signalled the start of an era of dominance for the Lions, who would go on to win the next two Premierships and play in the next three Grand Finals, to cement their position as one of the greatest sides of the modern era.
Things have been different of late for the however, as they have struggled to reach the upper echelons of the competition over the past few years.
Essendon has won three of the past four encounters between the two sides and the Bombers will be looking to inflict more damage this weekend on their home turf. However, Brisbane has shown some spirit lately, winning their last two games. Let’s hope Sunday afternoon can add another exciting chapter to this once fierce rivalry.