Lions Try To Build On Fightback Fairytale

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Darren England
Jack Redden has a big job against the Hawks' midfield on Sunday. Image courtesy fo couriermail.com.au/Darren England
Last Five Matches

Round 12, 2012 – Hawthorn 135 d Brisbane Lions 70 at MCG
Round 16, 2011 – Hawthorn 105 d Brisbane Lions 63 at Aurora Stadium
Round 16, 2010 – Hawthorn 118 d Brisbane Lions 43 at Aurora Stadium
Round 12, 2009 – Brisbane Lions 93 d Hawthorn 51 at Aurora Stadium
Round 19, 2008 – Hawthorn 110 d Brisbane Lions 41 at Aurora Stadium


Form

     Rd 9       Rd 10       Rd 11       Rd 12       Rd 13   
Hawthorn    W  W  B  W  W
Brisbane Lions   L  L  B  L  W

Brisbane should be coming in to this game on the back of a hiding from the Cats. Instead, the Lions’ season has taken on a whole new complexion after they pulled off the 8th greatest comeback, statistically, in AFL history against one of the league’s best. 52 points down in the third quarter, Brisbane’s best players finally started getting their hands on the footy, while Geelong kicked back after spending a week on the Gold Coast. Ashley McGrath kicks the game-winner after the siren in his 200th game and the fairytale is complete.

That comeback, however, will mean little if they can’t play out the four quarters against the league’s top team, Hawthorn . The Lions finally have close to their best team out on the park, so there are no excuses if they can’t, at least, push the Hawks close. After this match, Michael Voss’s side has a run of winnable games for the next two months, so the Lions need to maintain momentum.

The Hawks are slightly vulnerable this week with Brent Guerra (back), Grant Birchall (knee) and Max Bailey (knee) all missing. They were hardly convincing coming off the bye against Carlton and then struggled to overcome West Coast, but managed to sneak away with the four points on both occasions.


Key Men

(Hawks) Jarryd Roughead – Hands up if you picked Jarryd Roughead would have kicked three more goals at this point in the season than teammate Lance Franklin . He hasn’t kicked less than three goals in his last six games, and is averaging four per match over that period. The Lions handled Tom Hawkins relatively well last weekend, but it’s a different proposition going up against both Roughead and Franklin.

(Lions) Brent Moloney – He was barely sighted in the first two-and-a-half quarters, but it was no coincidence that Brisbane’s fightback started when Brent Moloney managed to get more involved in the game. He finished with 22 possessions, but just as importantly, he slotted three goals from the midfield and hit the post with another snap. Since Simon Black has come back in to the team, his production has gone down, and they need a player of his ability to stand up against the Hawks’ strong-bodied midfield.


Prediction

The Hawks have won six of the last seven against the Lions, and four of those victories have come at Aurora Stadium, the location for Sunday’s game. Hawthorn has cracked the 100-mark in each of those wins, so Brisbane’s emphasis must be on restricting the Hawks’ quality ball movement from the back half. That job will be easier with no Grant Birchall on the park. The Hawks have to respect a team that has beaten Geelong and Essendon in its past four matches, but they should be able to use this as a small percentage booster. Hawthorn by 44 points .

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