Rejuvenated Lion Hipwood earns praise from coach Fagan

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has hailed Eric Hipwood's stunning six-goal performance against the Western Bulldogs, saying the Lions forward is unfairly targeted by critics.

One of the most maligned players in the Lions' ranks, Hipwood produced his best goal return since 2019 to help inject life into their stuttering season as they powered to a 17.12 (114) to 10.11 (71) victory on Friday.

The 26-year-old, who signed a new six-year deal in 2022 to keep him with the Lions until 2029, returned to the team after missing the last-start defeat to Hawthorn before the bye.

Fagan joked he might have to only play Hipwood every third week after what he produced following an extended break.

"He cops a lot of unfair flack," Fagan said.

"He plays a really important role for us.

"Tonight he got a scoreboard reward.

"So pleased for him.

"He does cop a lot of flack, most of it unfair, really, and he helped us achieve a great victory."

Brisbane's fifth win of the season keeps them in the hunt to play finals for a sixth-straight season.

The result lifted the Lions into 12th (5-1-6), just two points behind the 11th-placed Bulldogs.

After losing last year's grand final by four points, the Lions endured a difficult first-half of the season as they struggled with form and injury, including five ACL cases on their sick list.

"Our profile is really healthy, other than accuracy," Fagan said.

"What I pointed out to the players in the break was just that you're doing a lot of things right, boys.

"Let's just keep working away at this aspect of your game and that will help us enormously

"It wasn't the profile of a team that was sitting 13th or 14th on the ladder so hopefully we can build on tonight and keep going."