Lions keen to avoid early KO against Suns

Eric Hipwood (right) says the Lions need to be on the ball after consecutive losses.
Eric Hipwood (right) says the Lions need to be on the ball after consecutive losses.

They landed knockout blows in the first three weeks of the AFL season but Brisbane have been caught cold by their opponents in the past fortnight.

After a 3-0 start to 2019, the Lions have suffered back-to-back defeats to Essendon and Collingwood to bring Chris Fagan's young team back to earth.

Lions spearhead Eric Hipwood said the Bombers and Magpies had won the contest for the football too easily and it was something his team couldn't afford to do in Saturday's derby with Gold Coast.

"The other teams have definitely thrown the first punch, in a way, and they've just smashed us at contested footy," Hipwood said.

"They've done a really good job in scouting us but we've just got to try and find other avenues to go.

"If we can just go back to what we know and contested footy, hard-at-it footy, I think the result will look after itself."

Hipwood admits to some troubled nights over the Easter weekend after the 62-point loss to the Magpies at a sold out Gabba last Thursday.

The Suns are also eager to bounce back after a 73-point thrashing by Adelaide last weekend.

Stuart Dew's men have defied pre-season expectations to be 3-2 and the Lions are sweating on the fitness of vice-captain Harris Andrews and Rhys Mathieson.

Both are struggling with hamstring injuries and Hipwood acknowledged losing either would be a blow.

"Matho's been really, really good inside so far and he's been helping Lachie Neale a fair bit," Hipwood said.

"Harris down back has just been exceptional and he'll be a big loss but we've actually had some consistent performers in our twos so I think some boys are ready to stand up."

Australian Associated Press