Former Hawks and Lions star Luke Hodge believes it was Richmond’s Round 20 win over Brisbane that kick-started their form as the two teams prepare to face off during the series finale at the Gabba on Thursday night.

Brisbane led as far as 42 points in the game at the MCG on July 31, before the Tigers headed home with a 10 three-second half.

Hodge clearly singled out the game as the driving force behind Damien Hardwick’s side’s scintillating form in the final month of the season.

“It’s a big game tomorrow night, it’s a team that has a great history against Richmond, and Richmond is in good shape. Let’s be honest, when they played the 20th round, it was the Lions who put them a bit fit that day,” Hodge said. Pat and Heals of SEN.

“If you look ahead of that Round 20 game, they lost to the Suns by two points, they lost to North by four points, and they tied Freo. Then, all of a sudden, they were down 42 points in the third quarter against the Lions.

“Since then they’ve beaten Port, beaten Hawthorn, beaten Essendon, so if you’re looking at the confidence going into tomorrow night’s game, Richmond are a team full of confidence and the Lions after their performance against Melbourne are just a little shy I think. .”

By contrast, the Lions stumbled into the 2022 season, a disappointing second half of their campaign culminating in an embarrassing 58-point last-round loss to Melbourne that cost them a top-four berth.

With all the momentum seemingly on the visitors’ side, Hodge believes his former side can pull off the upset, provided there is a unified sense of belief in the dressing room.

“It sounds dark and gloomy, but the Lions have to sit down, it’s this notion of belief, that the Lions believe that even after (the Demons’ defeat) they can bounce back and beat Richmond Football Club (on) their home deck tomorrow night,” he said.

“I think they’re going to take a lot of confidence from what they did in the first half against Richmond to get those 40 points. They looked at what they did wrong against Richmond in the second half and how they got their scores, Shai Bolton broke free from the stops, they’ll be ready for that.

The sixth-placed Lions host the seventh-placed in the second playoff final at the Gabba on Thursday night.


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