Hawthorn continue to be Lion tamers with 25-point win

Oliver Caffrey |

Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston (right) was a constant threat against his former side, kicking four goals.
Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston (right) was a constant threat against his former side, kicking four goals.

Hawthorn have continued their “quirky” hoodoo over Brisbane, posting an impressive 25-point win at Marvel Stadium to leave the Lions’ season on the ropes.

The Hawks powered away from last year’s grand finalists early before withstanding a Lions comeback to win 15.10 (100) to 10.15 (75) on Sunday for their fourth victory of the season.

Despite not playing finals since 2018, Hawthorn have won five straight matches against the Lions dating back to 2020.

Brisbane have beaten all 16 other AFL teams at least once during the past five seasons, but Hawthorn have proved a bogey side for Lions coach Chris Fagan – a former Hawks football boss.

“If I knew the answer to that they wouldn’t have got us today,” Fagan said when asked what it was about playing against Hawthorn.

“It’s just one of those quirky things about sport.

“You might say we haven’t played them at the Gabba, which we haven’t. All the games have been in Melbourne or in Tassie, so that could be one reason. 

“But the games, especially in more recent times, their ability to get better quality clearances and their ability to break tackles has been the difference.”

Brisbane Lions' Lachie Neale and head coach Chris Fagan.
Brisbane Lions’ Lachie Neale and head coach Chris Fagan contemplate another defeat to Hawthorn. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

James Worpel and Will Day starred in the midfield for Hawthorn, while captain James Sicily was a rock in defence as the Lions’ forward line functioned poorly without suspended tall Eric Hipwood.

After Brisbane kicked the first goal, Hawthorn raced out to a 35-point lead midway through the second term.

The Lions cut the deficit to just three points moments before the final break, but were left to rue kicking 3.7 during a third quarter they dominated in general play.

Hawthorn booted the first three goals of the final quarter to break the Lions’ spirit.

The victory came seven days after Hawthorn suffered a heartbreaking loss at the death after they had been up by 41 points against Port Adelaide.

“The work during the week, it was pretty painful,” Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said.

“We had to re-watch (the loss against Port Adelaide) a lot last week and do the learning, and it was not an easy thing to do. 

“But the players were amazing in their commitment to really try and make sure we learned the lessons.”

James Worpel of the Hawks takes possession against the Brisbane Lions.
James Worpel (centre) starred in the midfield for Hawthorn against the Lions. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

The result leaves the Lions reeling, with a 4-1-6 record leaving them 12th on the ladder heading into the bye after playing finals for the past five seasons.

After kicking five goals last week in a 119-point mauling of Richmond, livewire Brisbane forward Charlie Cameron’s radar was off on Sunday as he finished with 1.3 and one shot that went out on the full in a costly performance.

Hawthorn premiership hero Jack Gunston – who spent a season with the Lions last year before returning to Waverley Park – turned back the clock with a vital four-goal performance, including the sealer with four minutes left.

Hawthorn will host Adelaide at the MCG next Saturday as they continue their steady build under Mitchell.

The Lions will lick their wounds during the bye before trying to salvage something from the season when they play the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in round 13.

AAP