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Brisbane urged to make big selection statement on key forward


Kane Cornes believes Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan needs to make a statement at the selection table to spark his side into action.

Last year’s Grand Finalists find themselves 0-3 on the back of last Thursday’s loss to reigning premiers Collingwood and in desperate need of a victory to kickstart their campaign.

While many Brisbane stars have been down so far in 2024, key forward Eric Hipwood stands out to Kane Cornes as one who has underperformed.

He had eight disposals (three kicks), took four marks and went goalless against the Magpies, taking his season averages to nine disposals, five marks and 1.3 goals per game.

Cornes believes if the Lions are to break their 2024 duck and start moving towards finals, Hipwood is the type of player that could be sacrificed.

“You can make a statement,” he told Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“I’m conscious of the fact that every time they lose we can be critical of Eric, but the numbers just don’t stack up for him.

“Now, unless he does something extraordinary defensively, and that’s what Chris Fagan will say, because I’ve argued with Chris about this before when I was critical of Eric last year.

“He made a statement last year when he dropped (Jack) Gunston and (Daniel) Rich, I thought that was a big one.

“I think at times he (Fagan) is too nice.”

Does Fagan need to make the statement this week for the Round 4 clash with North Melbourne?

Cornes feels he does, even if Hipwood did fairly recently sign a monster contract until 2029.

“I think he has to,” he said.

“He had a poor finals series, he plays one good game in every eight.

“I know he’s on a big contract and I know it’s difficult for the club who have invested so heavily in him, mistakenly, to drop him. That would signal the mistake that they’ve made with that contract.

“But you sometimes have to reward players at selection with getting a game and those that aren’t performing with losing their place in the side.”

Hipwood kicked 41 goals last year, behind only Joe Daniher (61) and Charlie Cameron (59) at the Lions.

He took the third most marks (140), third most contested marks (27) and most marks inside 50 (69) in a Grand Final year.

The Lions have now slumped to 14th position on the ladder after losses to Carlton, Fremantle and Collingwood.

They’ll look to open their account when they meet the fellow winless Kangaroos at Norwood Oval on Friday in Gather Round.

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