Hawks beat Lions by 12 points at Gabba - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks beat Lions by 12 points at Gabba

By Laine Clark 19/04/2008 11:25:39 PM Comments (0)

Maybe Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin should re-think his "Buddy" nickname.

AFL rivals would probably change it to "scary" after the 21-year-old West Australian added to his growing legend by booting eight goals in a drought breaking 12-point Hawks win over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

It takes a lot to steal the limelight from a seven goal effort by Lions forward Daniel Bradshaw, on the comeback from a knee reconstruction.

But Franklin's heroics ensured Bradshaw was merely a sub plot as Hawthorn notched a 19.16 (130) to 17.16 (118) win - their first victory at the Brisbane venue since round 18, 2000, ending a run of seven straight loses.

Indeed, the ladder-leading Hawks recent record against the Lions overall had been ordinary coming into the match - they had lost 10 of their previous 12 games against the three-time premiers.

But the Hawks have not had Franklin in such rare form before.

His 196cm, 101kg frame proved too big and strong for a Lions outfit that tried different opponents throughout the night but all to no avail.

The Lions suffered a major blow when three-time premiership winner Nigel Lappin pulled out at the last minute with a tight Achilles and was replaced by Robert Copeland.

Lions talisman Jonathan Brown may also be in trouble for a late second-quarter hit on Hawks skipper Sam Mitchell that conceded a 50-metre penalty and, as a result, a goal.

Brown - who surprisingly started in the middle and was rotated to centre half forward - drove his shoulder into Mitchell's back after the Hawks skipper marked, almost sparking a melee.

As Hawthorn toasted their new hero Franklin, Lions onballer Luke Power would have been forgiven for cursing the youngster's name after spoiling his 200th game.

Coleman Medal frontrunner Franklin's two first quarter goals could not stop the Lions clawing their way to a 5.3 (33) to 4.5 (29) lead at the opening break.

By halftime, Franklin had three to seal a 10.9 (69) to 9.7 (61) buffer.

Franklin picked up in the third quarter where he left off in the first half, threading the ball through the posts from the left forward pocket to seal his fourth and give Hawthorn their biggest lead of the match - 14 points.

Franklin's fifth in the same term came much easier after Daniel Merrett conceded a free kick right in front of the posts.

But the Lions refused to be intimidated by the Hawks giant, whittling away the lead to just two points - 14.13 (97) to 14.11 (95) - by the final interval as Bradshaw also helped himself to five majors.

Franklin's two goals in as many minutes at the start of the fourth, followed closely by Mark Williams' early nomination for mark of the year - and resulting major - appeared to seal the result.

Still buzzing from last round's 67-point turnaround against Port, the Lions threatened a repeat but failed to convert pressure into points in front a whopping 30,019-strong crowd.

Officials confirmed after the match that Brown had been reported for charging Mitchell.

Asked about the incident, Lions coach Leigh Matthews said: "I plead the fifth (amendment)".

But Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson added: "I don't know what is going to happen with Browny but I love the way he plays because he is just so physical and so competitive with the way he plays." Brown had a horror night - apart from the report he was kept goal-less and restricted to just 10 disposals by Trent Croad who returned three weeks earlier than expected from a wrist injury.

But the focus was Franklin - despite Clarkson's attempt to play down the youngster.

"His performances have been really pleasing," he said in a major understatement.

"He has got an uncanny ability to force a great contest. That's his greatest improvement in the last 12 months." Clarkson admitted it would be hard to keep a lid on his young side's growing profile.

"We are in territory that we haven't been in before. Our guys would be excited with the form that they are in but we've got a long way to go - it's going to be a tough long road," he said.

Meanwhile, Matthews described Franklin's game as "spectacular".

"Daniel (Bradshaw) did it for us but he (Franklin) was spectacular for them," he said.

The Lions coach was frustrated that his side came close despite several below par performances from players.

"We weren't far off the game but I just thought a lot of individual players were below their capabilities," he said.

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