James Frawley could feature in Hawthorn’s finals forward pack after impressing coach Alastair Clarkson during the side’s 72-point win over Brisbane.
The tall Melbourne recruit, who has played in defence during his first season with the Hawks, on Saturday finished with three goals as the boys in brown and gold overcame the Lions 21.8 (134) to 9.8 (62) at Launceston.
“We like to have the flexibility of Frawley being able to swing from one end of the ground to the other,” Clarkson told reporters after the game.
The coach left open the possibility of Frawley playing high again over coming weeks.
“It will depend on the opposition more than anything, but he got good exposure down there, he kicked three (goals) and made us pretty competitive in the front part of the ground.”
Playing without skipper Luke Hodge (suspension) and Sam Mitchell (illness) and facing a stiff first-quarter breeze, Hawthorn trailed by 15 points at the first break on Saturday.
But a 10-goal haul – including an impressive Isaac Smith bomb from outside 50 – in the second quarter with the wind on side, put Hawthorn in a commanding position.
“To reel that deficit in pretty early in the second quarter and then put some scoreboard pressure on the Brisbane side by halftime was really pleasing,” Clarkson said.
Playing his 100th AFL game, Jack Gunston booted four goals and top-scored for the Hawks.
Reliable forward Jarryd Roughead finished with three goals and 30 disposals, while Liam Shiels found the middle pins once and recorded 34 disposals.
A standout performance by Lions skipper Tom Rockliff included 45 disposals, 11 clearances and a goal.
Coach Justin Leppitsch admitted the captain inspired Brisbane’s early energy but the challenge was too great for one player.
“He probably didn’t have enough contributors to follow him,” Leppitsch said of Rockliff.
“And apart from that it really was just our mistake rate.”
Despite some early impressive passages of play, simple errors saw the bottom-of-the-ladder Lions repeatedly hand over possession.
Luke McGuane and Jed Adcock were the top goal scorers for the Lions with two each, while Stefan Martin finished with 40 hitouts.
Brisbane face the Western Bulldogs next round for their last game of the season, while Hawthorn clash with Carlton as they keep alive hopes of a third successive premiership.
Clarkson expects Mitchell to be back for the Carlton match.