AN IMPROVED effort from the Brisbane Lions in their 26-point loss to Gold Coast was driven by the encouraging form shown by some of their younger players, coach Justin Leppitsch says.
Forward Eric Hipwood was a key target inside forward 50, kicking a career-high four goals in just his third game.
Harris Andrews started in defence and struggled on last week's rising star nominee Peter Wright, but kicked two goals when moved forward.
His replacement down back, Daniel McStay, had kicked two goals earlier in the match, and was lively off half-back.
Coach Justin Leppitsch was happy with the form of his inexperienced forwards.
"Our young forwards were pretty good again, [they were] having a crack in the air," Leppitsch said.
WATCH: Justin Leppitsch's full post-match media conference
Recruit Jarrad Jansen, who spent two years on Geelong's list without playing a game, didn't have big numbers but wasn't afraid to throw his weight around, and also finished with two goals.
Reuben William showed some dash from defence in his debut, but Leppitsch said he thought there was more he could do.
"I think he was holding back a bit today, Reubs, I think there's some more in him, as far as that goes,” he said.
The Lions abandoned their chip-kicking style across half-back, and often used chains of handballs to break down the Suns' defence through the middle of the ground
It resulted in their highest score for the season.
"I just thought we played with a bit of freedom today – there's still some lessons to take out of it, don't get me wrong," Leppitsch said.
"Our inside 50 stuff was good and I thought our forward movement was OK.
"We made a few too many errors, really."
Rhys Mathieson was a constant presence through the midfield, and Leppitsch said he played well.
"He's doing a terrific job, gets his head over the footy and gets us going forward,” he said.
Despite the eleventh-straight loss, Leppitsch was upbeat about his side's future.
"They're the future, and they're the things our fans should be excited about – watching these boys get better and better every week, which they are," Leppitsch said.