SAM MITCHELL claims the most pleasing aspect of Hawthorn’s five-point upset win against Brisbane was its ability to regain the ascendancy when things weren’t going its way.
The Hawks trailed by 20 points during the first quarter, and then again by 22 points late in the third, but found a way to get past a red-hot Brisbane outfit, who had only lost one game for the season prior to Sunday’s round 10 clash at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.
HAWKS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
“What we haven’t been able to do is stop momentum shifts, and I thought today they had a run on for different periods of the game, and we were able to get the momentum back in our favour,” Mitchell said post-game.
“We were able to shut down a couple of their key players at different stages during the game.
“A little bit of extra maturity around the ball I thought today was important.”
Mitchell pointed to some of Hawthorn’s previous performances and said the defence still has work to do.
“If you go back all the way to the Carlton game (in round three), it was seven goals to two in the first quarter against us,” Mitchell said.
“In the Melbourne game (round seven), I think we came home strongly in that game.
“But we faded out in a couple of games against Essendon and Sydney.
“What we’re finding is our best footy is really strong and we’re more than capable, but across a full four quarters, if we don’t produce near enough to the level of (our best) football then we can be scored against really easily.
“We’re still a bit leaky in our defence.”
Mitchell was full of praise for ruckman Max Lynch, who battled manfully against a number of key bigs for the Lions.
Former Magpie Lynch finished with nine possessions, 21 hitouts, one goal and two clearances.
“I thought Maxy Lynch was really strong for us and he had a really strong performance. In the ruck, I thought he did a great job against two… I think they had five 200-centimetre players in their team, and we only had Lynchy, really, in that category
“I was really pleased that he was able to put in his best AFL game, probably, to this stage.”
Lynch was subbed out late in the game, but Mitchell said he is confident his ruckman will be fit to take on Gold Coast on Saturday.
“I’m not sure what happened, he seemed pretty happy and all with it (post-game),” Mitchell said.
“I think he’ll be okay.”
Chris Fagan pointed to Brisbane’s defence as the reason for the loss. The Lions conceded 100 points for the first time this year.
“We weren’t as good defensively tonight as what we have been all year. We allowed our opposition to score 117 points, which is something we rarely do,” he said.
“When we have a look at the tape, we’ll certainly be having a look at that to see where we can improve for next week.”
Another contributing factor to the outcome, according to Fagan, was Brisbane’s ill-discipline with the Lions giving away 36 free kicks.
“We gave away too many free kicks, which resulted in scores to the opposition. They scored nine goals from free kicks, which is too many, and that’s the reason why they won the game,” Fagan explained.
Brisbane will welcome Greater Western Sydney to the Gabba for a round 11 encounter on Saturday afternoon. Fagan said Daniel McStay (ankle) and Marcus Adams (Health And Safety Protocols) are a chance to return.