THEY ARE uncaged, and now the Lions have been unconquered for a longer stretch than any other since the club's glory days.

The omen-seekers among the Brisbane faithful will be delighted that Chris Fagan's surging side has posted six successive wins in a season for the first time since late 2002, when Leigh Matthews' super-team won seven in a row amid their flag three-peat. 

LIONS ROLL ON Full match coverage and stats

In the process, the Lions enhanced their chances of a top-two finish and a subsequent home qualifying final by overcoming a wasteful Hawthorn by 27 points at University of Tasmania Stadium on Saturday.

The Hawks had snared 34 wins and a draw from their previous 38 games at their Launceston stronghold but failed there against Brisbane for the second season running in a defeat that inflicted serious damage to their already slim finals hopes.

The classy visitors trailed by nine points early in the second term before piling on nine of the next 11 goals on their way to a 13.9 (87) to 7.18 (60) victory.

WATCH Captain Zorko leads the pride

Brisbane's impressive display was soured somewhat by an upper right calf or knee injury to young defender Alex Witherden, leaving the Lions one short on the bench from the latter part of the first quarter.

They were driven to victory by an irrepressible running brigade boasting the likes of Dayne Zorko (25 possessions and two goals), Lachie Neale (33 and one goal), Mitch Robinson (28), Daniel Rich (26) and Jarrod Lyons (25).

It was Brisbane's fourth win on the trot against Hawthorn, with Lions veteran Luke Hodge still yet to experience defeat against his old club.

But it didn't start out in the most positive manner for Hodge and co.

Just six days after Hawthorn knocked off league leader Geelong at the MCG, the Hawks looked set to continue their love affair with Launceston. With first use of a two-goal breeze, they rattled on three of the opening four goals as they were rewarded for their contested work via Jaeger O'Meara and James Worpel, along with their ability to stifle Brisbane's running game. 

HAWKS FAILED WHERE IT MATTERED Clarkson rues his side's inaccuracy

The Hawks' lead would have been bigger had promising forward Mitch Lewis – the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination last round – not wasted two set shots in the opening 15 minutes.

A Lewis brain fade later in the first term also denied teammate Ricky Henderson a shot at goal when he had the kick reversed after remonstrating with Brisbane antagonist Mitch Robinson.

FAGAN DROPS THE F WORD Coach finally admits Lions' finals drought is over

The Lions hit back with two of the next three goals to trail by just three points early in the second term before the contest became a stalemate in which the two teams blazed 10 shots without scoring a goal.

This undignified sequence was broken by a classy running goal from Lions star Dayne Zorko that gave his team the lead for the first time just 16 seconds before half-time. Hawthorn never regained the lead.

The Lions broke clear in the third term with 5.1 from eight inside 50s, including four majors in quick succession in the later part of the quarter to dangerous quartet Charlie Cameron (two goals), Zorko, Cam Rayner (two) and Hugh McLuggage.

At the other end, it took an act of brilliance to break a run of seven behinds from Hawthorn when Jack Gunston soared to take a pack mark before converting from 45 metres.

A minute later Hawks runner Liam Shiels levelled the scores with a running shot, but that was virtually the end of the resistance for the home team as they were overwhelmed by a Lions team determined to make their first finals appearance in 10 years.

Hawthorn onballer Worpel (34) was terrific in a losing side, as was ruckman Ben McEvoy, while O'Meara (26) was also workmanlike.

Hawks defender Grant Birchall returned after being sidelined with "delayed onset muscle soreness" after his long-awaited round 17 comeback from knee issues, and was a solid contributor (24 touches).

Hawthorn's effervescent star Shaun Burgoyne equalled the League record for the most games by an indigenous player, matching the 372-game career tally of Sydney great Adam Goodes, and the 36-year-old delivered early with two sharp goals and 18 possessions.

Hawthorn: The Hawks were on the back foot before the first bounce when forward Tim O'Brien failed to overcome calf soreness, but he is likely to be in the mix for the clash with North Melbourne on Friday night.
Brisbane: Talented Lion Alex Witherden left the field midway through the first quarter and received treatment and strapping for an upper calf or knee problem, which is set to be scanned. Key defender Marcus Adams copped a late head knock and also remained off the field, but coach Chris Fagan believes "he's fine", while forward Daniel McStay received a cork to the hip that was "nothing serious". 

The Lions return home to the Gabba to host the Western Bulldogs in a Sunday twilight game, while the Hawks, who remain a mathematical chance to play finals, face North Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.

HAWTHORN         3.4      4.9     5.14       7.18 (60)
BRISBANE            3.1      5.5     10.6      13.9 (87)

Hawthorn: Burgoyne 2, Nash 2, Smith, Gunston, Scully
Christensen 2, Cameron 2, Zorko 2, Rayner 2, Answerth, McCluggage, Neale, Hipwood, McInerney

Hawthorn: O'Meara, Worpel, Smith, McEvoy, Shiels, Birchall
Brisbane: Zorko, Neale, Lyons, Robinson, McCluggage, Rich

Hawthorn: Tim O'Brien (calf) replaced in selected side by Jonathon Ceglar
Brisbane: Witherden (calf/knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: O'Gorman, Fleer, McInerney

Official crowd: 15,157 at the University of Tasmania Stadium