Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has lauded his young players' growing maturity after they overturned a big margin to snap a four-match AFL losing streak with a stunning five-point upset of Brisbane.
The Hawks looked gone when they conceded four consecutive goals out of the half-time break and trailed by 22 points midway through the third term.
But with young guns Jai Newcombe (27 disposals) and Mitch Lewis (four goals) both influential, they surged home to win 18.9 (117) to 17.10 (112) on Sunday.
It was the Hawks' first victory since Easter Monday and the highest score Brisbane have conceded this season, coming in just their second loss of the campaign.
There were concerns for Hawthorn when Will Day was substituted out with another ankle injury and ruckman Max Lynch left the field in the dying stages after an accidental clash of heads with Darcy Fort.
The Hawks' can ill-afford to lose another ruckman, with Ben McEvoy (neck) and Ned Reeves (shoulder) already sidelined, though Mitchell expects Lynch to be given the all-clear.
In an epic arm wrestle in Launceston, the lead changed hands nine times, including five times during a see-sawing final term.
Lewis kicked two of the Hawks' three goals in a match-winning burst, including an ice-cool set shot from 50 metres that put them 17 points up after Dayne Zorko was pinged for running too far.
"We've been in most of the games we've played this year and I was really pleased with the maturity of the group that they were able to play all the way to the end," Mitchell told reporters.
"There were a lot of different things happening in the game and I thought the boys just handled it really well.
"They played with a high level of effort and intent."
Chad Wingard (three), Sam Butler and Dylan Moore (both two) also kicked multiple goals and James Sicily kept dangerous Brisbane forward Eric Hipwood quiet.
Tom Mitchell had 36 disposals and 20 contested possessions on return from a week's rest and emerging star Newcombe was arguably best afield.
The 20-year-old, picked up via last year's mid-season draft, was outstanding against a talent-packed Brisbane midfield led by Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Hugh McCluggage.
"I didn't maybe think he would be as good as quickly, but he looks comfortable," Mitchell said.
"He's got a lot of composure and he's going about it in the right way, playing some different roles for us."
Charlie Cameron and Jaxon Prior kicked three goals each for Brisbane, with Lincoln McCarthy (two) booting the opener in each half.
Lyons (32 disposals) and Daniel Rich (33) were among the Lions best, while Brownlow Medal fancy Neale started strongly but drifted out of the game, finishing with 25 and a goal.
McCluggage was a late casualty when he limped off with a hamstring injury.
Hawthorn had a 36-27 free-kick advantage in a game that featured a raft of soft decisions by the trio of whistle-happy umpires.
"We gave away too many free kicks which resulted in scores to the opposition," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.
"They kicked nine goals from free kicks, which is too many, and that's the reason why they won the game."
Australian Associated Press
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