Brisbane v Hawthorn - The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Brisbane Lions went as far south as they possibly could, and beat Hawthorn at their Launceston fortress. The Lions ran over the top of the Hawks for the second time this season, and won their third in a row, by 33 points.

Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.

 

THE GOOD

Hugh McLuggage

I reckon we may have seen the coming of age of McLuggage today.

He’s had 27 touches a couple of times this season but this was his most complete performance. 29 disposals, 14 contested touches and an assortment of clearances, intercept possessions and tackles gave him a very impressive stat line.

He had eight touches in the last quarter, refusing to allow the Hawks back into the contest as his team put the foot on their throat.

Looking at his development, one thing you can’t assess when drafting a player is their killer instinct. McLuggage was one of the high Brisbane draft picks that showed that he knows what to do when he smells blood. He and Cam Rayner will be a scary tandem as time goes on.

The Desperation

One team was desperate today, and that team was the Brisbane Lions. In enemy territory, and outgunned on paper, they knuckled down, threw their bodies in, and they did what had to be done.

They were willing to do the dirty work, the tough stuff and the sort of things in a football game that make a difference.

Whether it was Mitch Robinson throwing his body in, Jarrod Berry taking on all comers, or Rhys Mathieson drifting back into defence and taking the heat when it came his way, the Lions were up for the fight, and they sensed the hawks weren’t, so when the game was on the line, only one team was prepared to do the little thing required.

That team was Brisbane, and that team walked away with the four points.

Dayne Beams

What a month of football for Beams. Get a load of this. 27 touches and a goal against GWS. 33 touches against Fremantle. 40 touches and a goal against Carlton, and today he had another 33 touches.

He may no longer be captain of the side, but his leadership in this team is undeniable. He had 14 contested touches and seven clearances to be the best stoppage mid for the Lions all day.

The Lions’ late season resurgence has been in no small part the result of Beams’ renaissance. His teammates look proud of him – you can see it in their faces as they go to him after another excellent effort. They admire him, and he inspires that team.

Liam Shiels

Win, lose or draw, you know what you’re going to get from Liam Shiels.

He had 34 touches, 15 contested disposals, seven clearances and sent the Hawks inside 50 an incredible 12 times. There were a lot of Hawthorn players who could take a leaf out of Shiels’ book today. He is great with second efforts and always applies pressure. If the Lions’ brainstrust knew that some of the hawthorn pressure would fall away, they would’ve also known that this wouldn’t be the case with Shiels. He’s a great worker for his club, and would be well within his rights pointing the finger at a few teammates and asking why he can give the effort they cannot, or worse… will not.

Cam Rayner

He’s the number one pick for a reason, y’know?

Rayner gave Hawthorn, and the football world in general another look at what the future holds with three goals and plenty of run.

Many times, he looked like the player most likely to take the game on, and he was still running whilst the Hawks stopped. Remember discussions about his tank, and how he probably wouldn’t be able to run games out? Pepperidge farm remembers, and so does The Mongrel Punt. He laid them to rest today.

Rayner has had 19 touches twice in the last three weeks, but this is the first time he’s slotted goals. Something tells me (it’s my eyes and my ability to see he’s a bloody gun) that we’re going to see him pile on goals in plenty of games over the next few years. The future is bright at Brisbane, and this guy will be shining brightest.

Josh Walker and Daniel Rich down back

Four contested marks was the most in the game, and Walker took them when the game was at its hottest.

In the absence of both Harris Andrews and Luke Hodge, the Lions needed someone to stand up down back. Both Walker and Daniel Rich were excellent in repelling repeated Hawthorn entries, particularly as they recognised no one from Hawthorn looked like taking an overhead mark. His second half was as good a half from a key defender as you’ll see.

I remember when Daniel Rich was mooted as one of the best up and coming mids in the game – yep, I’m that old, but now he seems to have slotted in so well in the backline. His penetrating kick out of defensive 50 enabled the lions to buy time and launch into attack when needed.

He had seven tackles today, which is a clear season high, and is finally getting a good run without injury over the past 6-7 games, and the results have been very pleasing.

The Stefan Martin clearance work

He had 13 contested touches today and seven clearances, but no touch was more important than the clearance he got in the last quarter. The game was still in the balance and Martin took matters into his own hands.

Martin outmuscled Jarryd Roughead on the wing, got himself into the right position at the stoppage and cleared the ball himself with a long kick. It allowed the number one pick to run inside 50. Rayner converted and the game took a huge swing to the Lions’ advantage.

Martin has been fantastic this season, but in light of the spectacular efforts of Gawn and Grundy, his season is vastly underrated. Today he had 17 touches but it was his work in the ruck, taking the ball out of the air and driving the Lions forward  that was most impressive.

 

THE BAD

Tim O’Brien

I don’t know how many chances this bloke will get before people come to the conclusion that he will not be a success at the highest level.

When I was a kid, my dad used to watch a hell of a lot of North Melbourne games. There was a forward named Kerry Good who used to kick the occasional bag of goals, and you may remember him from the infamous kick after the siren in the 1980 night series. Anyway, my old man couldn’t stand the bloke – called him the Flying Nun, as he was always flying, and coming down with none.

Well, Hawthorn seem to have the modern day version in O’Brien. He looks like he has all the tools to clunk marks, to take the game by the scruff of the neck, or to bail the Hawks out when they need it. He does none of it. He doesn’t mark, he doesn’t get the ball at ground level, and he doesn’t add ANYTHING to the team at all. On the one occasion he got out the back and had the ideal position for a mark in the second quarter, he avoided body contact and was somehow able to allow a spoil from front on LEGALLY. In the modern game, that’s almost impossible to do, but O’Brien managed it.

His stats for the day? Seven touches and 0 marks. Key forward… with zero marks.

Time’s up Hawks – stop jerking your supporters around with this guy. He’s had enough chances.

 

THE UGLY

Hawthorn Millionaires

We touches on how much Brisbane wanted the ball in the ‘good’ section. Well, when there’s one team demonstrating great desperation, it would kind of make the other team look bad, right?

Right.

The amount of times hawthorn players stood around watching the ball, waiting for someone else to do something, was astounding. The writing was on the wall in the first quarter when the ball went long into the Brisbane forward line.

A pack started to form as the ball sailed to around 25 metres out. Players set, and… nothing. No one contested the ball. Stratton could’ve came back with the flight of the ball, but didn’t, Frawley could’ve attacked the contest. In his 200th game, he opted not to. The ball was not touched by anyone before it hit the deck, where Mitch Robinson got out the back and ran into the open goal.

It was alarming stuff, but not for Hawthorn, who put their hands over their ears and closed their eyes, refusing to commit to contests the way the Lions did. They were second to the contest and seemed to think their much-celebrated Launceston fortress would do the job for them.

They may have cost themselves finals today. It doesn’t matter what your run home looks like when you play football like millionaires. You’re not going to make it unless you start doing what got you to the dance in the first place.

 

OTHER BITS

Eric Hipwood… that’s the second time he’s been the most effective forward on the ground in Brisbane-Hawthorn games this season. He is a very tough match up and has a lot of Justin Westhoff about him. I love that he backs himself, too.

I see that Isaac Smith had  24 touches and went at 66% by foot, but a couple of his decisions really cost Hawthorn. He missed a target by handball halfway through the third quarter and the Lions just got on their bike and ran forward in numbers. Hipwood got on the end of it and slammed through a goal. Smith needs to be better – he looked a little too relaxed with the ball today. Isaac, the ball’s the most important thing out there – look after it!

Didn’t have Jaeger O’Meara in the good category despite his four goals. Probably a bit unlucky – not sure what else he could’ve done. Seven clearances and looked great going forward.

We wrote about second efforts earlier. Even big Oscar McInerney was applying tackles after the ball spilled in the first half. He got O’Meara in a ripper at one stage.

Berry to Mathieson to Robinson gave Mitch his second goal, but the way they were allowed to move it by hand from the stoppage 25 out from goal was way too easy. It’s all about effort, and the Lions just wanted that ball more.

I liked the game of Brendan Whitecross. He is another who never plays like a millionaire. So that makes two on Hawthorn today. Loved his tackle on Zorko and goal from the subsequent 50 metre penalty.

Really tough call against Hipwood for in the back against Frawley. I thought it was an excellent tackle. He may have just fallen into his back at the conclusion of it, but it could’ve gone either way, and in those situations, when it could be a free to either guy, isn’t letting it go always the better option than plucking out a free kick?

Cam Rayner’s hair is horrible. Someone talk to the boy.

Another Tom Mitchell 40+ disposal game. If it were anyone else in the game, a huge deal would be made of it. instead, I'm wondering why he was so quiet for a patch in the third. That's called being a victim of your own lofty standards.

Daniel Howe is either loved or hated by Hawthorn supporters. Giving away four free kicks, including a throw right in front of goal to conclude a high pressure period of the game won’t be swaying those on the side of hatred.

Know what I like seeing? Zone-off defenders being made to pay when they don’t give their opponents due respect. When Rayner drifted forward in the second, Sicily zoned off him, so what did Dayne Beams do? He showed why he is an intelligent footballer and hit Rayner on the chest for a goal.

Lesson for other teams – untidy handballs in your attacking 50 do not work against Brisbane when they’re desperate. The Hawks had no time when they went by hand, and each handball only seemed to increase the pressure. Turnovers became inevitable, and the Brisbane use of the ball in rebounding was very good.

At one stage, Tim O’Brien had four possessions and two of them were due to free kicks. So unless he’s being GIVEN disposals, he can’t get them.

Paul Puopolo was up to his old tricks again today. Only one player leans into high tackles better than Poppy.

I liked the work of Ryan Lester down back today, particularly when he played in front.

I did not like the work of Luke Breust today, who took until the final quarter to lay a tackle.

Sicily tried to do a little too much on the boundary in the third and kicked it out on the full with a dinky 20 metre kick. I know players backing themselves is cool and all, but when in a tight game and the boundary line is right there… just take it out. The ensuing free kick went to the top of the square and a McStay contested mark and goal resulted.

Cam Rayner’s recovery after skying for an attempted screamer in the third was magnificent. Many people would’ve stayed down after landing heavily. Not Rayner. Up he popped and then he was right there to soccer a goal.

O’Meara was the only player on the move when he snapped his fourth from a stoppage.

James Sicily looks really good when he gets the ball and decides to run with it. hawthorn needed someone to do it, and other than Impey in the last quarter, no one provided it.

A few times today the Lions looked as though they were determined to keep their feet whilst the Hawks went to ground too easily. This was particularly evident as a Hawks sat on the ground as McLuggage gave to Lewis Taylor for a goal in the third quarter.

Real warning signs for the Hawks as Lions broke from the centre and Mitch Robinson marked 30 metres out. Very little pressure and a few players looking like they were content to run beside their opponent.

Wonderful spoil by Lester on Breust running with the flight. That was twice in a game the Lions were able to do this without infringing. Both times, the Hawthorn players should’ve instigated contact to draw a free kick. Great play by the Lions. Dumb play by the Hawks.

Great to see Berry slot a goal late in the game. You know what that’s called? Reward for effort.

Great win by the Lions at a venue very few teams walk away with four points. So much to like about the kids and the way your team is playing footy. For Hawthorn… I get the feeling that the two losses to Brisbane this year will see them out of the finals, and there’s no one but themselves, and Brisbane to blame.

 

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