Sport AFL Hawks see off Brisbane to begin flag defence

Hawks see off Brisbane to begin flag defence

Bradley Hill and Liam Shiels
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• Riewoldt leads Saints to round one win

Hawthorn’s AFL premiership defence has begun with a hard-earned 48-point victory over a gallant Brisbane at Aurora Stadium.

The Hawks saw off a spirited third-quarter fightback without seven of their grand final team before running out winners 21.13 (139) to 13.13 (91).

Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead kicked five each for the premiers, who extended a winning streak over the Lions that goes back to 2009.

For Brisbane, Jonathan Brown kicked four, Trent West and Tom Rockliff three apiece.

Hawks big man David Hale hurt his left ankle, but was able to play on. Photo: Getty

Hawthorn led by 25 at the last change and booted eight goals to five in the last to run away with the win.

But the Hawks didn’t have it all their own way against the gutsy visitors and new Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch can take some comfort from his side’s heart.

After they’d gone goalless in the second quarter to trail by 22, the Lions fought back to within two points in the third term.

They kicked five of the period’s first seven majors, with two each to Sam Mayes and West, to trail 60-58.

But bad misses stalled their momentum and the Hawks smelled blood.

They blasted home four straight goals to close the quarter, Breust kicking three for the term.

The Hawks had led by five at quarter time after a see-sawing first period.

Youngster Tim O’Brien made his mark in Franklin’s old No.23 jersey, booting his and Hawthorn’s opener from 50 after a strong mark.

The premiers booted four unanswered majors in a scrappy second, two to Liam Shiels, to extend their lead to 48-26.

Hawthorn unfurled the premiership flag before the opening ball-up, suspended backman Brian Lake accompanying it in front of 12,430 Tasmanian fans.