Li­ons op­ti­mistic for vic­tory de­spite pain of player drain

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

front of goal. Af­ter kick­ing 2.9 in the third term, they kicked the first three goals of the last term to lead by nine points. But Ri­oli kicked his fifth and then sub­sti­tute Matt Suck­ling’s boom­ing goal put the Hawks in front.

Ri­oli’s midfield smother with a cou­ple of min­utes left on the clock led to Luke Breust kick­ing the sealer. It was a brave ef­fort from the Hawks, who lost key for­ward Jar­ryd Roug­head for the clash when he had a melanoma re­moved from his lip.

They were also with­out key de­fender James Fraw­ley be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury.

It is Hawthorn’s fifth­straight win and puts them a game clear of Colling­wood in fourth spot.

THE Townsville City Li­ons were never go­ing to let an on- field thump­ing fin­ish their sea­son.

The Li­ons host Her­mit Park to­day at Gar­butt’s Harold Phillips Oval a fort­night af­ter re­ceiv­ing their big­gest loss of 2015 but last week­end’s close re­sult against Univer­sity has given Li­ons coach Any Pethy­bridge hope their year is far from over.

De­spite win­ning just one game this sea­son, the Li­ons still have a re­al­is­tic chance of mak­ing fi­nals for the first time, with fourth- placed Curra only slightly ahead with two wins to their name.

Player un­avail­abil­ity will again be a thorn for Pethy­bridge, who had a near full- strength team for last week’s four- point loss to Univer­sity, only to see most play­ers again leave for mil­i­tary ex­er­cises be­fore to­day’s clash.

“The next few weeks are go­ing to be dif­fi­cult for us and just try­ing to keep the same group to­gether ev­ery week has been a prob­lem for us,” Pethy­bridge said.

“Against the Bull­dogs, we were play­ing a team that reg­u­larly keeps the same group to­gether and we had blokes com­ing back from mil­i­tary ex­er­cises where they had spent a lot of en­ergy. But it was good for us to come back strong and a few blokes will get another op­por­tu­nity of play­ing se­niors.”

The Li­ons will blood ju­niors from their highly re­garded un­der- 17s team to­day to cope with the se­nior player drain.

“They are a great group of play­ers and the club’s very ex­cited about the ta­lent that’s com­ing through,” Pethy­bridge said.

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