Where and when: the Gabba, Saturday, June 1, 7.25pm AEST
Last time they met: University of Tasmania Stadium, round 17, 2018: Brisbane 15.8 (98) d Hawthorn 9.11 (65).
The Lions made it three straight wins by stunning the finals-bound Hawks. After trailing by 11 points at half-time, Brisbane ran the legs off their more experienced rivals, kicking the final six goals of the game to run out easy winners. Eric Hipwood and Cam Rayner booted three goals apiece, while Dayne Beams tallied 33 disposals.
What it means for Brisbane: The classic ‘eight-point game’, a win would solidify the Lions’ top-eight position after a heartbreaking loss to Fremantle on Sunday. Brisbane has won four from five at the Gabba and wants to continue making its home ground one of the most difficult trips in the competition.
What it means for Hawthorn: Currently ninth, a win keeps the Hawks right in the finals race. After beating Port Adelaide at the weekend, another victory would make it back-to-back wins over teams they’re likely to be battling with come the final five rounds of the season.
How Brisbane wins: It’s becoming more apparent the Lions’ best is good enough – but they need to do it for the entirety of matches. One bad quarter against the Bulldogs and a 10-minute possession avalanche from Fremantle has cost them twice in the past three weeks. Win the contested ball and they’ll win the game.
How Hawthorn wins: After being badly beaten twice last season, the Hawks will need to cut off Brisbane’s switches of play and swift ball movement. Opponents have shown the Lions can be frustrated and can struggle to score if they’re slowed down. It’s a patience game for Hawthorn.
The stat: Dayne Zorko is leading the AFL in four statistical categories: goal assists (13), pressure acts (282), tackles inside 50 (22) and inside 50s (70). He is second in tackles (74).
The match-up: Ricky Henderson v Hugh McCluggage
This pair are two of the hottest wingmen in the competition. Henderson, at 30, is fresh off 37 disposals against Port Adelaide and is having arguably the best season of his career. McCluggage, in his third year, is showing all the poise and class that got him drafted at No.3, averaging 23 touches and kicking 12 goals.
It’s a big week for: Alastair Clarkson
The master coach will have vivid memories of being outplayed twice last season. He’ll have been scheming for longer than seven days to get one back over his old mate Chris Fagan.
Thommo’s Tip: Hawthorn by -20 points.
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