Hawthorn has put a big week behind it, surviving a late scare from Brisbane at UTAS Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks were in control right from the opening bounce, showcasing slick ball movement and piling pressure onto the Lions to emerge victorious in the 14.8(92) to 12.8(80) contest.
Brisbane looked timid early, with the Hawks keeping the Lions goalless in the first quarter while booting four goals of their own.
They could have had more, with Hawthorn managing 20 inside 50s in the first quarter, but Daniel Rich’s intercept marking came to the fore and minimised the damage.
Fittingly, it was Nakia Cockatoo in his first real outing for the Lions who kicked their first goal early in the second term, while a subsequent goal from Jarrod Lyons put the pressure back on the Hawks.
But the Hawks didn’t waver, booting three goals to match the Lions’ three goal second quarter to enter the main break with a 24-point lead.
Chad Wingard tapped the ball perfectly to Luke Breust's advantage, with Breust finishing to perfection
The Hawks piled on the goals in the third term, booting six goals to Brisbane’s one to take a 53-point lead into the final change.
Brisbane staged a final-term fightback, kicking the first six goals of the final term before a goal from James Worpel snuffed out any hopes of a last-minute victory.
Luke Breust was outstanding for the Hawks, booting three goals before coming off with a knee injury in the third quarter.
Hawthorn’s Chad Wingard had 32 touches to go with his two goals, while Jaeger O’Meara had a day out racking up 35 disposals and a goal along with six clearances.
Daniel McStay booted four goals for the Lions, while Jarryd Lyons had 38 touches, nine clearances and one goal.
Clarko's still got it
It was a big week at Hawthorn, with four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson announcing he would be stepping down at season’s end and handing over the reins to assistant coach – and club legend – Sam Mitchell a season earlier than anticipated. Clarkson cited differences in game plan as the main reason for fast-tracking the Hawks' succession plan, but on Saturday in Launceston, Clarko's approach still appeared to work. After the turmoil of the week, Hawthorn's players would be forgiven for seeming distracted and disorganised, but they looked determined and in control of the game from the word go.
Cockatoo flies in first game back
It was a long time between games for Nakia Cockatoo, but the speedy utility enjoyed a strong return to senior level in his first game in 1212 days. After being named but unused as the medical sub last week, Cockatoo finally got some game time after last playing in round three, 2018. Booting Brisbane's first goal of the game was just reward after putting in the hard yards to return from a horror run with injury, which included two PCL injuries and hamstring issues. The former top 10 pick managed just 35 games in six years at Geelong before moving to Brisbane at the end of 2020. He showed glimpses of his highly regarded pace and attack on the ball, managing eight disposals in addition to his crucial goal.
Brisbane’s first goalless opening term
The Lions looked shellshocked early, and could hardly get their hands on the footy as Hawthorn ran rampant through the middle.The Hawks’ run and dare kept Brisbane goalless for the first time all year, with its quarter-time score of 0.1(1) its lowest first quarter score since they were kept goalless in round eight, 2016. The Lions only had five inside 50s in the first quarter, with an errant shot on goal from Hugh McCluggage producing their only score – a behind. Instead, the Lions' backline was under siege, with intercept defender Daniel Rich racking up 16 disposals in the first quarter alone as the Hawks launched an early assault on goal.
HAWTHORN 4.3 7.4 13.5 14.8(92)
BRISBANE 0.1 3.4 4.6 12.8(80)
Hawthorn: Breust 3, Wingard 2, Moore 2, O’Meara, Shiels, O’Brien, Phillips, Mitchell, Lewis, Worpel
Brisbane: McStay 4, Cockatoo, Lyons, Neale, Cameron, Bailey, Fullarton, Daniher, Zorko
Hawthorn: Wingard, O’Meara, Breust, Mitchell, Nash, Worpel
Brisbane: Lyons, McStay, Rich, McCluggage, Zorko
Hawthorn: Luke Breust (knee)
Hawthorn: Damon Greaves replaced Luke Breust (knee)
Brisbane: Keidean Coleman (unused)
Crowd: TBC at UTAS Stadium