Lions can now say the ‘F’ word

Lock it in.

Brisbane will return to the AFL finals for the first time since 2009 after overcoming Hawthorn by 27 points in Launceston.

Brisbane's sixth win on the trot, their best streak since the 2002 premiership year, has them equal with Geelong on 13 wins.

Getting coach Chris Fagan to talk about finals has been difficult but after the 13.9 (87) to 7.18 (60) victory he was happy to declare the decade long wait for Lions fans was over.

"It is a while ago, isn't it, ten years ago I was still in my forties,'' he said.

"It is exciting for the club, I think it is fair to say now we will be playing finals.

"Some might have thought that maybe I should have said that last week or even the week before but I always said that we would have to win 13 games and we have now done that.''

Brisbane have won in all different manners this season and yesterday's could be put down to a fair slice of luck.

The Hawks' conversion rate of 1.11 from set shots was a major factor.

 

 

Hawthorn’s Tom Scully is caught by Mitch Robinson. Picture: AAP
Hawthorn’s Tom Scully is caught by Mitch Robinson. Picture: AAP

 

But Fagan said it still took guts from his side to hang in there in the first half when the Hawks were winning contested footy and clearances and he said the Lions conversion from their forward fifty entries was first class.

"We know it is hard to come and win down here, we know Hawthorn have been playing well and we showed grit to hang in there and when we had out moments we were able to take them,'' he said.

"And I don't know what Clarko will say but I think he will probably say that they didn't take theirs.

"It worked out that way for us today, I little bit of good fortune.''

 

 

After he was knocked from pillar to post in the previous two weeks, the Hawks opted not to get physical with Lachie Neale - to their detriment.

The Lions' gun onballer was at his punishing best through the middle and at stoppages as he got down and dirty on the inside, providing Brisbane with a consistent escape route in close.

It was the fourth time Fagan - Hawthorn's former football boss - had engineered a win over his former club, and resulted in only the Hawks' third loss in their past 31 games in Launceston.

The win guaranteed Brisbane a spot in the finals, and possibly its first home final at the Gabba in years.

 

Charlie Cameron is tackled by Ben Stratton. Picture: AAP
Charlie Cameron is tackled by Ben Stratton. Picture: AAP

 

 

Despite dominating marks inside 50m four to one in the opening term, and with James Worpel and Jaeger O'Meara leading the Hawks midfield dominance with centre breaks 5-1 and clearances 10-6, Hawthorn led by only three points at quarter-time.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was left to rue the one that got away after his team wasted a host of chances.

"We were playing a good opponent and in a lot of facets of the game we really served it up to Brisbane," Clarkson said.

"The one key component of the game is to put a score of the board.

"The third quarter sums it up.

"They had eight inside 50s for the quarter, which isn't many, and kicked five goals, and we had many more entries than thatand kicked 1.5.

"That's a reflection of the polish of your finishing skills and Brisbane kicked them when they had their opportunities and we didn't kick them when we had ours."

"We had 15 more inside 50s, we won the clearances, we won field position, we were competitive right throughout the courseof the day," he said.

"But one stat that really hurts us is the one that matters the most and that's the scoreboard."

The early loss of Alex Witherden with an injured right knee left the Lions a rotation short on the bench, but they still managed to win a low-scoring second term to lead by two points at halftime.

 

Hawks forward Jack Gunston flies for a mark over Lions defender Darcy Gardiner. Picture: Getty Images
Hawks forward Jack Gunston flies for a mark over Lions defender Darcy Gardiner. Picture: Getty Images

 

It was even in the third term until some Charlie Cameron brilliance sparked a run of four goals to give Brisbane the upper hand at the third change, leading by 20.

Brisbane's momentum started with Neale, whose 33 touches included 17 contested possessions, seven clearances, six marks and a goal.

Local hero Mitch Robinson was Neale's right hand man, and Brisbane's midfield enforcer, his 28 possessions included 12 contested and four clearances.

Former Hawthorn captain and four-times premiership Hawk Luke Hodge was instrumental in Brisbane's back half, although Hawks fans did not appreciate his work, booing him at times.

It was not the way Hawks veteran Shaun Burgoyne hoped to celebrate his 372nd game to equal the VFL/ AFL indigenous games record.

The 36-year-old drew even with the record of Adam Goodes, who finished on the same number of games after 17 seasons with the Sydney Swans.

Worpel (32 disposals) was the best Hawthorn player and Ben McEvoy excellent in the ruck.

 

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Daniel Rich gets a fist on the ball behind Luke Breust. Picture: Getty Images
Daniel Rich gets a fist on the ball behind Luke Breust. Picture: Getty Images
News Corp Australia


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