Chris Fagan during Brisbane's game against Fremantle in R1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SINCE the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, there's one team Brisbane has not beaten.

No, it's not Geelong or Sydney or Melbourne or Collingwood or any other perennial high-flyer.

It's Sunday's opponent, Hawthorn.

Since the opening round of the 2020 season when the teams played at an empty MCG, the Hawks are a perfect 4-0 against the Lions despite their own struggles during that period.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is well aware of the anomaly and said it was the first thing his team spoke about following last Saturday's thumping win over Richmond.

"The previous two years (2018 and 2019) we played them four times and we beat them four times and we weren't all that good back then," Fagan said on Thursday morning.

"It's sort of crazy how that's worked out, but that's footy for you.

"You only have to look at the results on the weekend, and weird things happen."


In 2021 and 2022 the Hawks won at Launceston's UTAS Stadium, while last year they thumped the Lions with slick ball movement at the MCG in the middle of the season.

Fagan said it was clear why the club he spent nine years at had had success in recent years against Brisbane.

"Pretty clearly it just comes down to effort and mindset, I think.

"That's not to disrespect Hawthorn, they played very well against us in those games, but we were nowhere near our best.

"We've got to make sure we're somewhere near our best, or at our best, on the weekend, and if we are, we give ourselves a good chance.

"If we're not, the same thing will happen."

Fagan agreed the Hawks were one of the competition's most improved teams over recent weeks, winning three of their past five matches after a 0-5 start to the year.

He expected a strong showing from Sam Mitchell's team after losing in heartbreaking fashion to Port Adelaide on Sunday.

"They'd no doubt be disappointed, but they would also have got some confidence that they could go to that ground and arguably should have won, given their dominance for most of that game.

"They've been in good form lately … a young team on the rise."

Brisbane is likely to regain the services of dynamic half-forward Zac Bailey, who has missed the past five matches with an ankle injury.

Zac Bailey in action during the R5 match between Brisbane and Melbourne at the MCG on April 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

They will be without suspended Eric Hipwood though, with Fagan saying the Lions could either replace him with another tall like Darcy Fort or former Hawk Brandon Ryan, or potentially go smaller with Cam Rayner as a third tall forward.