AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we are taking a look at some of the up-and-coming draft prospects for the 2020 draft. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Peter Williams chatted with Brisbane Lions Academy prospect Tahj Abberley. As we delve into the Queensland-based talent, you’ll get to know everything you need to know about the brightest academy talents.
A nippy small who will look to use his smarts and slick ball use off half-back in 2020, Abberley has also proven handy on both sides of midfield and up forward. The 179cm academy jet also possesses outstanding agility, which was only highlighted in his state-best time of 7.84 seconds during preseason. Having represented Queensland at Under 16 and 17 level, run out for Aspley in the NEAFL, and also turned out for all five games in the NAB League last year, Abberley is already a renowned figure of the Lions’ Academy.
PW: Tahj, how’d you find the testing today?
TA: “It’s been good. “We’ve got heaps of boys here, it’s a good turn out and all the boys get around you when you do your testing. “We’re getting some good scores out there, it’s a good atmosphere.”
You fared pretty well in the yo-yo, is that one of your strengths?
“Yeah, it’s probably one of my strengths besides the sprints, it’s not my favourite. “But it’s good to get it over and done with.”
Are you coming here just trying to beat your own personal bests?
“Probably more so in the sprints. “My agility is probably another one of my strengths, getting lower (times) there. “But more so just my sprints, it’s probably one of the sides I need to work on.”
What do you see as your strengths on the field?
“Probably just my decision making by foot. “Under pressure, just the composure to hit an inside (lead).”
And the areas you’re looking to work on?
“More so my contested ball and my contested marks. “Although I’m not the tallest bloke out there but just when I do have to take those on-on-one marks, being able to back myself and knowing I can take the mark.”
What has the experience of going through the pathway and Lions Academy been like for you?
“For me it (started) when I was about 13. “Just from there they’ve helped me develop and helped me through the ranks, giving me advice on what I need to improve on and how to take that next step and bring that into my game.”
How has the preseason been overall?
“A bit of a long one. “I’m keen to start playing games, we’ve got one this weekend coming up (in March). “But a lot of running and hot days out in the sun. “I’m just keen to start playing games now.”
Are you setting any goals for the season?
“Just to play well in the Academy carnival and then further my development into the Allies and hopefully get into the draft.”
“And probably to take my leadership to another level, hopefully lead the boys out into a couple of games, then help develop more players and get a couple of wins for the Academy.”
What kind of role are you hoping to play this year?
I think I’ll try play a bit more half-back and then rotate on-ball. “I haven’t played too much defence in my time but hopefully I can learn a bit from that and start to play a bit more back and learn from some of the more experienced boys.”