RISING Brisbane Lions duo Josh Schache and Eric Hipwood might be young cubs but coach Chris Fagan can foresee a day when they have "revenge" on the AFL's big backmen.
Schache made his return to the senior team for only his seventh game of the season, and his first since round eight again Hawthorn.
In that time, the 19-year-old has gone on leave and returned to his hometown of Seymour, in Victoria, before making a much-awaited decision on his future and signing a two-year deal to keep him contracted until the end of 2019.
It was a decision that helped spark the No.2 selection from the 2015 NAB AFL Draft back into form. After returning through the NEAFL team, the left-footer snagged 14 goals in five matches.
On Sunday, he picked up 14 disposals and two goals in an encouraging display as the Lions lost to Richmond by 31 points.
Exciting tall Eric Hipwood also slotted two goals, and Fagan forecast the day when that pair would dominate.
"I was really pleased by (Schache's) game today. Competed really well, just looked up-and-about, playing with more energy. I think that was a really promising performance for him on a day where we only had 39 entries inside 50," the coach said after the game.
"Not a lot of opportunity for him but I thought there was some really terrific signs there.
"Eric Hipwood, he kept trying as well.
"They had some good opposition today, but they'll get bigger and stronger and their days are ahead of them I think, where they might be able to get some revenge on some of the older defenders that are a bit bigger and stronger than them at them at the moment."
The pair was largely defended by Alex Rance, David Astbury and Nathan Broad.
Tagger Nick Robertson looks like he will be in trouble with the Match Review Panel after he was reported for headbutting Tigers captain Trent Cotchin in the third quarter.
"To be honest with you, I haven't seen the incident. Obviously something's happened there, the umpire's reported him, and we've got a judicial system in place that will deal with that. Hopefully he hasn't done it but if he has, then he deserves what comes his way," Fagan said.
The Lions were smashed around the ball, with Richmond winning contested possessions 143-113 and inside-50s 67-39.
Stars Dayne Beams (21 disposals), Tom Rockliff (14) and Dayne Zorko (11) were all down on their usual output.
Meanwhile, Dustin Martin ran rampant, with his 14 clearances more than half of the entire Lions tally of 26.
The coach said there were no injury concerns for his experienced trio.
"Our midfield group of Beamsy, Rockliff, Zorko and Stef Martin have been over the course of the season fantastic for us, but they had quieter games today. The Richmond mids were up and about, no doubt," he said.
"The encouraging sign for us though was to still be in the game with all of our young players playing so well, given the older guys were down."
A chance at a fourth victory for the season comes next Sunday when the Lions host Carlton at the Gabba.