Lions coach lauds young star
ERIC Hipwood thrilled Lions fans with his bag of tricks against Carlton on Saturday but it was his selflessness that most excited his coach.
Brisbane fans have known it was only a matter of time before the prodigiously talented Queenslander produced a major goal haul.
It could have come last week if not for some inaccuracy that saw him finish with 2.4 in the win against Fremantle.
With the radar on song on Saturday he blitzed the Blues with a personal best tally of 6.2.
He also had 12 score involvements, took seven marks and laid a few tackles and coach Chris Fagan said the fact he was always looking to bring his teammates into the game and was committed to the team's defensive principles was just as valuable as the goals.
"It was a good all around game,'' he said.
"The exciting thing about his performance, I know he kicked six goals and everyone will make a fuss about that, but I look at his game and ask, was he selfless or was he selfish?
"Because that is the biggest challenge for forwards.
"I thought he played a really selfless game and still kicked six goals which is good feedback to him that you can do both.
"Sometimes when you are on a roll like that you can get a bit on the selfish side but to his credit he didn't.''
Hipwood clearly knows what the coach values because you could not get him to talk about his own performance.
However, he was happy to discuss what the first back-to-back wins in more than three years would do for the Lions' confidence and said he believed the bond the players were forming was contributing to improved performances.
"It was a great feeling for the club we haven't had that for a while,'' he said.
"It is the first time I have been involved in two in a row and it helps build that belief.
"It is starting to feel like a real family club, we are all a similar age and are starting to be really close mates and it is starting to pay off on the footy field.''
Brisbane's past four wins have been by 50 points or more which gives them the AFL's second highest average winning margin.
Hipwood said when the side felt they were on top the shackles came off and they played on pure instinct.
He said the challenge now was to produce that effort from the opening bounce every week.
"That is the luxury of being a really young side, when we get up we get really excited and start to show our best.
"We have got to try to build towards more consistent performances and play like that week in and week out.''