ALL eyes have been on the man expected to be Brisbane's forward of the future in recent weeks. But they may have been looking the wrong way.

In the 2015 draft, the Lions picked up two forwards with their first two selections. Pick 2 was Victorian Josh Schache, who many believed was the top prospect in the draft at 199cm and 98 kilograms.

A centimetre taller, 16 kilos lighter and 12 picks later was Eric Hipwood - the Queensland-bred Rafael Nadal lookalike who continues to show why he could be the player the Lions have been looking for.

It's not his raw stats, and it's not going to be that given the Lions' status as the bottom side on the ladder. But Brisbane did show plenty in Saturday's 18.13.121 to 12.9.81 loss to Port Adelaide - as did Hipwood.

The first of his two goals showed just how athletic he can be, drawing comparisons to superstar Lance Franklin in the process.

Hipwood outsmarted his man in a one-on-one contest, collecting the ball near the boundary line deep in the forward pocket. He then - like Buddy outrunning Cale Hooker - put on the jets before, on a tight angle, wrong-footing Tom Clurey and slotting the major.


Eric Hipwood of the Lions.
Eric Hipwood of the Lions. JULIAN SMITH

It was just another impressive outing from Hipwood, who earned a Rising Star nomination back in Round 5. He has kicked 17 goals in 12 games this season after bagging 11 in ten last year.

But it's what he could be that is most exciting. Still just 19 years old and with a frame begging for some size, Hipwood is only going to get better and more dominant.


THEY'RE in the top four - but it's not all rainbows and puppy dogs for Port Adelaide.

Unless Sunday afternoon sees a draw between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, we'll have four teams locked on seven wins from fourth to seventh come round's end.

The Power will lead that group thanks to their very healthy percentage, but the win over Brisbane did nothing to counter the critics.


Robbie Gray and Sam Powell-Pepper of the Power celebrate a goal.
Robbie Gray and Sam Powell-Pepper of the Power celebrate a goal. DAVID MARIUZ

It was Port's second win over the Lions for the year, moving them to seven wins from seven against bottom nine sides. And, yes, beating bad teams is important for any side hoping to play finals.

But until now the Power had built their case as a contender from demolishing lowly opposition, as seen in their four wins by 72 points or more.

They beat the Lions by 83 points two months ago at the Gabba; at home, they could only manage a 40-point victory that felt much smaller than that. Brisbane trailed by just three points late in the first half, after all.

It gets tougher for the Power from here, with a number of games that will show how good they truly are against sides that aren't flag fancies, but also aren't spoon contenders.

Next up is Collingwood on the road, followed by a clash with Richmond and a trip to West Coast. We'll know much more about this team in three weeks' time.

News Corp Australia

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