'We owe them one': Lions steeled to end Hawks' hold

Brandon Ryan will return to familiar territory in new colours as the Brisbane Lions target a drought-breaking win over a restocked Hawthorn.

Ryan will make his Lions debut in the forward line, replacing the suspended Eric Hipwood, on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.

One-time Lions forward Jack Gunston, the man Ryan was traded for late last year, will also return for the Hawks after he was managed in last week's gut-wrenching loss to Port Adelaide.

"It's hard to believe I was making my debut less than 12 months ago for Hawthorn, now against them for another team," Ryan said.

"It's special; a bit of a full circle moment as I also made my debut at Marvel with the Hawks.

"The Lions have been one of the top teams for years now and have so many decorated names, so to be running out with those guys makes me feel very proud."

Despite that status Brisbane (4-1-5) have lost their last four games against the Hawks (3-7), coach Chris Fagan admitting earlier this week mindset and work-rate had been lacking in a run of boilovers.

This year they meet while both outside the top eight, having found some form after rough starts to their respective campaigns.

"We haven't beaten the Hawks for three or four years; the boys have really set themselves a challenge this week," Lions attacking midfielder Cam Rayner said.

"They're a great team; good contested ball and their run, they follow up contest to contest, which has challenged us.

"I feel like we owe them one back."

Ryan is the fourth debutant in as many weeks for a Brisbane team that had been relatively stable in previous seasons.

"These players are playing well in the VFL and have come in, showed they can have an impact," Rayner said.

"It bridges the gap between our teams and shows that the next man up mentality is really there.

"He's (Ryan) pretty fond of selling some candy so hopefully we see a bit of that."

Zac Bailey (ankle) is back for Brisbane, so too Hawthorn veteran James Sicily (shoulder) while Jack Scrimshaw also returns from suspension.