Lions optimistic for victory despite pain of player drain
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.