RULED OUT: Daniel McStay of the Brisbane Lions will miss the rest of the season through injury.
RULED OUT: Daniel McStay of the Brisbane Lions will miss the rest of the season through injury. DAN PELED

Bombers favourites in battle of cellar-dwellers

AFL: The Brisbane Lions have to be going poorly when the bookies have Essendon – sorely depleted this season by doping bans – a firm favourite to win Sunday’s bottom-of-the-ladder clash at Etihad Stadium.

Put up around the $1.55 mark by sports betting agencies, the Bombers go into a match as favourites for the first time this season.

The Lions, $2.45 outsiders and riding a club-record 12-game losing streak, were further rocked when scans revealed versatile defender Dan McStay would miss the final six rounds with a broken ankle.

Injured in the third quarter of yesterday’s 79-point loss to GWS, McStay joins Dayne Beams (knee), Allen Christensen (collarbone), Ryan Harwood (knee) and Tom Bell (knee) on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

“He’s out for the year,” Lions football manager Matt Francis told AFL.com.au. “It’s a big blow.”

The game is crucial for both teams, who have both won only once this season, as it is likely to decide who ends up with the wooden spoon.

The Bombers go into the match on the back of a fighting 19-point loss to Richmond on Saturday – their third close loss in four games.

Key forward Joe Daniher told media the Bombers were primed for the game.

“Our focus doesn’t change week to week, no matter who we’re playing. We’re at the stage in this club’s history where we need to build something for ourselves,” he said.

“We need to build for sustained success and right now it doesn’t matter who we play on the weekend, we want to play the Essendon way.”

Brisbane is unlikely to regain 21-year-old small forward Lewy Taylor, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, for at least another week.



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