Jack Gunston is yet to hit on all cylinders in his first season at Brisbane, but Eric Hipwood says he and his fellow Lions have to take responsibility for that.

On Saturday at the MCG, Gunston will face his old side Hawthorn, a club he played 211 games for and won three premierships with, having kicked 11 goals this season.

The 31-year-old has been a "mixed bag" according to his coach Chris Fagan, and at roughly a goal a game, is well below his career average of 1.86 (441 goals from 235 games).

Although there's an adjustment period required to integrate any new forward to an established mix, Hipwood said the onus is on Gunston's teammates to get him into the game.

"I could imagine it's pretty frustrating on his end because we've missed him on so many hit-ups," Hipwood told AFL.com.au.

"That'll come with the more games we play with him.

"It's us not understanding how his game works yet. The more exposure he gets to playing with us we'll understand his strengths and weaknesses and kick it to his advantage.

"Watching the vision, I can feel his frustration. He's getting missed quite often."

Gunston came to the Lions as a pseudo replacement for outgoing free agent Dan McStay. They are very different players.

Whereas McStay would often come way up the ground to contest long kicks on the wing – he's a terrific contested mark – Gunston prefers to use his quick burst on short leads to beat his opponent.

The veteran forward said there was always likely to be some teething problems.

"I played 12 years at Hawthorn and knew every mannerism, every way they (teammates) turned and kicked," he said.


"I'm only 11 games in now and I'm still learning and working out which way guys turn and how they move and what type of kicks they do and look for.

"It's probably never going to be perfect, but we're slowly building the chemistry out there."

Although the synergy is not perfect, Brisbane is averaging 98 points a game, bettered only by Geelong (99).

Hipwood said Gunston's leadership and direction cannot be undersold, even in an experienced forward line that contains Joe Daniher, Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy.

"He simplifies the game, explains it in very simplistic way," Hipwood said.

"I'll see what happens and struggle to explain it to others, but he simplifies it and makes it less complicated.

"You know what he's saying is successful and works and have trust in what he says.  

"Whether it's a few words or a lot, we all listen to what he has to say.

"We're still trying to find what our best style looks like and that's a good thing at this time of year. You don't want to hit your straps at round 12 or 13, you want that to come around finals time.

"It's exciting because we're putting a really good scores on the board and still have so much room to improve."