Mitch Lewis celebrates a goal during Hawthorn's clash against Brisbane in round 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

HAWTHORN has run the legs off Brisbane to storm to a fourth straight win over the Lions with a thrilling 25-point triumph at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

After trailing by 17 points at half-time, the Hawks flipped the game with a dominant six-goal third quarter and ran out easy 15.8 (98) to 11.7 (73) winners.

HAWKS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

It was their fourth win of the season – and third from their past four – and came on the back of a daring, high-handball, brand of attack that stretched Brisbane defensively and gave the Lions a 13th defeat in their past 14 games at the MCG.

Captain James Sicily was again instrumental with 32 disposals, although might come under MRO scrutiny for a fourth-quarter tackle on Hugh McCluggage, while Mitch Lewis led things at the other end of the ground with four goals.


Jai Newcombe (28, five clearances and three goals assists) and James Worpel (30 with five clearances) helped change the midfield momentum in the second half, while youngster Connor Macdonald (28, two goals and three assists) played arguably the best game of his short career.

The Hawks had a whopping 101 more uncontested possessions than Brisbane, generating 62 inside 50s to 46.

It was clear from the opening quarter this would be a contrast of styles as Brisbane wanted to use its physical strength and experience against Hawthorn's want to run at all costs.

And it was the latter that won out.

Hawthorn led by five points at the first change, but Brisbane piled on three goals in the dying stages of the first half to flip momentum and hold a 17-point advantage.


It wasn't quite one-way traffic in the second half, but the Hawks' ability to switch the ball into open spaces created plenty of opportunities in their forward half.

Lewis kicked two goals in the third quarter, while Jacob Koschitzke's second, of three for the day, gave the home team the lead.

Brisbane looked like rallying early in the last following a Lincoln McCarthy goal, but Sam Mitchell's men would not be denied, as the impressive Macdonald kicked his second from a forward 50 stoppage and the Hawks never looked back.


The Lions have now lost consecutive matches after going down to Adelaide before the bye, and are clinging to a spot in the top four.

Is James Sicily in MRO strife?
In his first game back after missing a week through suspension, James Sicily will have another nervous wait after a fourth-quarter incident involving Hugh McCluggage. The Lions midfielder had the ball on the wing when Sicily tackled him, twisting him into the ground. McCluggage fell awkwardly with his head hitting the turf first. He lay motionless on the ground for a couple of minutes before being assisted from the field and taking no further part in the game.


Hawks make it four on the trot against Brisbane
Whoever the coach, whatever the venue, whatever the time of the season, Hawthorn has had Brisbane's measure since COVID-19 first came on our radars. Since the opening round of 2020 – when the teams met at an empty MCG as the season was being shut down – the Hawks are a perfect four from four against Chris Fagan's men. In 2021 and 2022 they won contests in Launceston, with today ensuring the Lions haven't had success since 2019. Hawthorn is the only team Brisbane has not beaten in that period. The Lions have now also lost 13 of their past 14 games at the MCG.

Dunkley's first goal as a Lion
What looked like a regulation forward 50 stoppage goal to Josh Dunkley early in the match meant so much more to the first-year Lion. After kicking 65 goals in 118 games for the Western Bulldogs – including a career-high 18 last year – Dunkley was yet to break his duck for his new club after 11 games. But with some slick work from Will Ashcroft early in the first term, the midfielder was able to snap truly on his right boot and was instantly mobbed by every one of his teammates.


HAWTHORN          4.1     5.4     11.7     15.8 (98)
BRISBANE             3.2     8.3     10.3     11.7 (73)

Hawthorn: Lewis 4, Koschitzke 3, Moore 2, Macdonald 2, Butler 2, Meek, Breust
Hipwood 4, Rayner 2, Cameron 2, McCarthy, Dunkley, Ashcroft

Hawthorn: Newcombe, Sicily, Impey, Lewis, Macdonald, Worpel
Dunkley, Andrews, Hipwood, Neale, McCluggage, Payne

Hawthorn: Breust (corked leg)
Rich (shin), McCluggage (head)

Hawthorn: Cam Mackenzie (replaced Luke Breust in third quarter)
Keidean Coleman (replaced Daniel Rich at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 35,869 at the MCG