Changkuoth Jiath and Jack Ginnivan celebrate a goal for Hawthorn against Brisbane in R11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ONCE bitten, twice shy. 

A week after painfully coughing up a seven-goal lead against Port Adelaide, Hawthorn showed it had learned a powerful lesson on Sunday, holding off Brisbane in the fourth quarter to secure a gutsy 25-point win at Marvel Stadium.

HAWKS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

When the Lions dominated the third term a sense of déjà vu hovered above Docklands after the Hawks had led by six goals in the first half, but in a sign of maturity, Hawthorn absorbed Brisbane’s best flurry of punches to grind out a 15.10 (100) to 10.15 (75) win. 

The Hawks have now won four of their past six games – and five in a row against the Lions – continuing an early season revival after starting 2024 with five consecutive losses. 


Finals might be beyond them in Sam Mitchell's third season at the helm, but after a slow start to 2023 that ended with seven wins, the Hawks should eclipse the eight they won in 2022. More importantly, the rebuild project at Waverley Park is firmly on track. 

This time last year, Jack Gunston wasn't part of that project, but on Sunday he was one of the most influential players on the ground, kicking a game-high four goals from seven marks, while also limiting the influence of Brisbane co-captain Harris Andrews in his first appearance against his old side since returning home after 12 months in Queensland on deadline day.


After missing the past two games against St Kilda and Port Adelaide due to a dislocated shoulder, Hawthorn skipper James Sicily made a strong return to help guide the Hawks home, finishing with 26 disposals, eight intercepts and eight marks. 

Unlike last Sunday at the Adelaide Oval, Hawthorn controlled the play in the final term. Blake Hardwick wasn’t sent back until the final three minutes. Mitchell spent the final 30 minutes on the bench, directing traffic from ground level, rather than in the box and was beaming when Luke Breust kicked a goal after the final siren to put the icing on the cake. 


Former Hawk Brandon Ryan kicked the opening goal of the game inside the first minute, but from there Hawthorn controlled most of the next 120 minutes. 

Dayne Zorko has been a revelation at half-back this year, but the 35-year-old had a couple of costly moments in quick succession early. The first was a high tackle on Jack Ginnivan, the second was a 50m penalty against Will Day that made it four in a row for the Hawks. 


It took an errant handball from Sicily to gift Brisbane its next goal early in the second quarter, but it didn’t change things. Mabior Chol kicked two goals in a matter of minutes, either side of a Dylan Moore goal to extend the margin to a game-high 35 points before half-time.

Zac Bailey took some time to get going but he produced a moment of pure class to kick an important goal in time-on, before Logan Morris narrowed the margin by slotting his second goal from a tight angle. Gunston ended the run with a goal on the half-time siren, just when they needed to calm the storm.

After kicking five goals against Richmond to collect the round 10 Rising Star nomination, Kai Lohmann slotted the first two goals of the second half to cut the margin to less than a couple of kicks.


Joe Daniher then reduced the margin to just four points when he converted his first, but just like he did late in the second quarter, Gunston kicked his third in the final minute to end a dominant but wasteful patch for the Lions.

Dual Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale changed the game in the third quarter, putting the ball inside 50 with five of his eight disposals in that quarter alone, accumulating 334 metres gained. But the Lions didn’t make the most of their chances, kicking 3.7 from 15 entries.


Hawthorn matched Brisbane’s more fancied midfield across the four quarters, with James Worpel, Will Day and Jai Newcombe all rolling their sleeves up.

After enduring a tough trip home to Melbourne last Sunday night, Hawthorn flipped the script seven days later, putting the Lions’ season on the brink after round 11.


Skipper gets back to work
James Sicily will need a shoulder reconstruction at some point later this year, but Hawthorn hopes it won’t be until their campaign ends. The All-Australian defender returned after missing the past two games and showed no signs of the injury in a big boost for the Hawks. If Sicily played against Port Adelaide last weekend, they would have won. He is there most important player for a reason. 

James Sicily during the round 11 match between Hawthorn and Brisbane at Marvel Stadium, on May 26, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Unlikely streak extends
Brisbane has a good record at Marvel Stadium – they had won eight of nine before Sunday – but not a good record against Hawthorn. The Lions have now lost their past five games against the Hawks, a club Chris Fagan knows as well as his own. Sam Mitchell revealed post-game that he leaned on Jack Gunston during the club's planning during the week. Not hard to see why.

Hugh McCluggage after the round 11 match between Hawthorn and Brisbane at Marvel Stadium, May 26, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Ryan's remarkable journey
This time last year Brandon Ryan was playing for the Northern Bullants, still waiting for a chance in the AFL at the age of 25. He got that opportunity at Hawthorn via the mid-season rookie draft, but then moved clubs five months later as part of a deadline-day trade that involved Jack Gunston returning to Waverley Park. Ryan got his first chance at the Lions on Sunday and took 45 seconds to kick the opening goal with his first kick in a Brisbane jumper. Unfortunately he only touched the ball once more before being subbed out at three quarter-time.

Brandon Ryan marks during the round 11 match between Hawthorn and Brisbane at Marvel Stadium, May 26, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

HAWTHORN    4.3    9.5     10.8    15.10 (100)
BRISBANE     1.3     5.5     8.12     10.15 (75)

Hawthorn: Gunston 4, Chol 3, Dear 2, McDonald, Day, Ginnivan, Mackenzie, Moore, Breust
Brisbane: Lohmann 2, Bailey 2, Morris 2, Cameron, Daniher, Ryan

Hawthorn: Gunston, Worpel, Day, Sicily, D'Ambrosio, Frost, Amon
Brisbane: Neale, Dunkley, Berry, Lohmann

Hawthorn: Meek (ankle)  
Brisbane: TBC

Hawthorn:  Luke Breust replaced Calsher Dear in the fourth quarter
Brisbane: Harry Sharp replaced Brandon Ryan at three-quarter time

Crowd: 29,664 at Marvel Stadium