Hodge unsurprised by Hawks-Lions disparity

Warren Barnsley

Luke Hodge might have hoped Brisbane would be in a better place leading into his first AFL game against former club Hawthorn.

The veteran Lions recruit will line up against the club he won four premierships with at the Gabba on Sunday in a scenario that was imaginable ahead of last year's trade period.

It appeared a smart move, with the Hawks seemingly on the slide after missing the finals for the first time in seven years and the young Lions rated one of the most competitive wooden-spooners in memory last year.

But rather than equalisation, the status quo of much of the last decade has remained, with fifth-placed Hawthorn firmly entrenched in the top eight and Brisbane last.

But as the Lions stare down a likely ninth-straight loss to start the season, Hodge has rejected suggestions things haven't gone to plan.

"They've got such a senior list which has been together for a long time," Hodge told reporters on Friday.

"I think if you look at the midfield they've got now, you've got Tom Mitchell who's had another pre-season, another year of understanding the game style.

"Jaeger (O'Meara) is back ... and I think a lot of their excitement comes from their defence last year.

"Then you put back in (Ben) Stratton and (James) Frawley, some senior players, and you can understand why they're in the position they are."

Lions coach Chris Fagan pointed to his side's decreasing losing margins to claim the gap was closing, with a lack of composure proving their downfall on multiple occasions this year.

The frustration in going from regularly winning to losing had not yet proved too much for Hodge.

"They've listened and tried to adapt the advice I've given them a lot more than I thought," he said.

"Getting frustrated, yelling at them, it's not going to do them any good.

"Yes, they're going to make mistakes. But as long as they make mistakes doing the things we want them to do, you can deal with that."