Lions shake off resilient Magpies

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Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
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Star performances from James Hawksley and Kristin Thornton helped Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault defeat a resilient Busselton by 27 points at Brunswick Oval on Sunday.

After the Magpies jumped out of the blocks to lead at quarter time, a wasteful Lions outfit slowly took control and broke the game open in the latter stages of the third quarter to run out 11.12 (78) to 7.9 (51) winners.

The Lions often over-used the ball and looked at their best when they delivered it long and fast to key forwards Thornton (four goals) and Kale Triplett (three goals).

Meanwhile, Busselton took it up to the Lions, using the ball with precision at times, only to break down at half forward on too many occasions with unforced turnovers.

Hawksley made a brilliant debut for the Lions, as the former Panther was a class above the rest with his footskills and decision making.

On more than one occasion he teamed with former Peel Thunder teammate Kristin Thornton to great effect.

Lions ruckman Tyson Wood won the day in his battle against Busselton veteran Adam Dehring, while also having a solid impact around the ground.

Busselton midfielders Jackson Arbon, Kobi Howell, Bailey Sanford and Chris Puff did their best in the clearances, but the Lions were often too big and out-muscled their opposition with ease.

Matt Welburn did a great job in defence for the Magpies, while young key position player Brody Plozza swung between the forward and back line, even chipping in with a goal in their first quarter blitz.

But in the end all of Busselton’s efforts were in vain, as the Lions over-ran and out-muscled their opposition in the final quarter, despite not making the most of their opportunities after half-time.

Coach Derek Hall said he was pleased with his player’s efforts, but believed they needed to improve.

“It was nice to get the win, but it wasn’t very pretty,” he said.

“Busselton have a unique game plan, they are a possession-driven side.

“At the end of the day I am pleased to get the win, but there is plenty to work on.”

Hall said he was excited by the efforts of debutant Bailey Taylor, as well Triplett and half forward Luke Slater who also impressed.

“There is some good young kids coming through who are complemented by Thornton and Hawksley,” he said.

“If they continue to get better, it will be good for us long-term.”

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