Author: Liam Badkin

Glenorchy claims inaugural Tasmanian Statewide Women’s title with 13-point win over Ulverstone

THE Glenorchy Magpies have claimed the inaugural 2021 Tasmanian Women’s Statewide premiership, defeating the Ulverstone Robins to the Tune of 13 points at North Hobart Oval. In what proved to be a low scoring affair – which was not helped by the strong wind blowing across the ground – Glenorchy maintained its undefeated record to claim the ultimate prize in Tasmanian women’s football. It was the first year the league introduced the format of the best side from each half of the state facing off in an all-star contest. The two sides competed in separate leagues, with the Robins claiming the North West Football League (NWFL) Women’s flag and the Magpies awarded the Southern Football League Women’s (SFLW) premiers. Both sides entered this match without a loss next to their name, and Glenorchy were able to prove themselves as the state’s strongest side.

The first quarter saw a hotly contested battle, with neither side able to claim ascendancy early in the match. Glenorchy’s Jemma Webster was busy in the opening minutes, finding plenty of the ball across half-back and the wing. It took until the 13 minute mark for a team to finally hit the scoreboard, which shows how hard the two sides were fighting to gain possession and territory. The first goal came through Ulverstone’s Hannah Martin, who doubled back to the goal square after the ball sailed over her head and soccered the ball through. It was reward for effort with the Robins dominating the five minutes leading up to this. At quarter time, the goal remained the solitary score for the contest, with Ulverstone taking the lead into the first break.

Glenorchy answered in the opening minutes of the second term, using the wind to their advantage to boot through a major courtesy of Molly Mitchell‘s shot on the run. The Magpies began to slightly grab control of the game, launching a number of attack’s inside-50 in the next 10 minutes of play. A heavy collision saw Robin Candice Belbin a little worse for wear, but she displayed bravery to play on, which drew a round of applause from not only the crowd, but also the Glenorchy players in a show of sportsmanship. The Magpies shortly after slotted their second goal through Tiarna Ford, and the game looked to be heading one way. A couple of errant shots on goal before half time saw Glenorchy take a nine point lead into the main break.

It did not take long for Glenorchy to extend this lead in the third term, with a cracking goal from Brooke Barwick coming in the opening minute of the quarter. Barwick gathered the ball at the 50m arc, evaded an attempted tackle, and booted the ball to the goal square where it bounced through for the goal of the day. On the shadows of three-quarter time, Ulverstone were able to kick one against the flow to give themselves a sniff heading into the final term, trailing by just nine points.

Glenorchy were not going to let this one get away, and they opened the last quarter with a goal through Sarah Skinner, who laid an excellent tackle to draw a free kick in front of goal, which she converted. The scoring dried up for the remainder of the term, returning to the contested play that was seen in the first quarter. The Robins got one back in the form of Libby Haines, who snapped a clever goal from a contest, but it was all too late, as Glenorchy walked away with the victory.

Glenorchy midfielder Georgia Clark was judged best afield, thanks to an outstanding match through the midfield. Her stoppage work was fantastic, and she set up many of her sides scoring opportunities. Barwick and Webster were also great for all four quarters.

The Robins were well serviced by Haines and Belbin, and can still be proud of their effort to claim the NWFL premiership.

Photo credit: Solstice Digital

QAFL: Broadbeach storms home to claim maiden senior flag

OVER the weekend, the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) held its grand final matches across all three competitions (seniors, reserves and colts). In what proved to be a cracking day of football, there was a club’s first flag, while another took home two of the three premierships up for grabs on the day.

Seniors:

Broadbeach 14.6 (90) def. Maroochydore 8.4 (52)

Broadbeach proved too strong for Maroochydore in the deciding clash, justifying their tag as the team’s strongest team for 2021 by taking home their first ever QAFL premiership. The ladder-leaders had powerful second and fourth quarters to claim the contest as their own and walk away with a comfortable 38-point victory.

There were doubts heading into the game as to whether or not the Cats could live up to the first-placed tag, given they had only played one match in four weeks leading into this contest. Maroochydore also entered the match with plenty of momentum courtesy of their three previous finals wins. This looked to be a contest that could go either way, and the first term started in such fashion. Maroochydore opened the scoring through Michael Steven, and their second through star forward Mitchell Scholard had Broadbeach worried about their outlook for this game.

It took Broadbeach seven minutes to conjure up an answer through Max Lower, but it only took the minor premiers less than a minute to deliver their second goal, courtesy of Tyrone Armitage. Each team scored two more goals for the rest of the term, and Maroochydore took a one-point lead into the first break. The second quarter was one-way traffic, with Broadbeach booting five goals to one (including two to Ryan Gilmore) to take a commanding lead into half-time, as they looked to put the game away early in the third term.

Their opponents had other ideas, bringing themselves back into contention by booting two goals to none in a low-scoring third quarter. Suddenly the margin was only 15 points and Maroochydore were on the charge, but Broadbeach proved too good as their talent rose to the top. They delivered another five goal to one term to stamp their authority on both the game and the league.

Broadbeach’s Liam Nelson was judged best afield in a promising display, while he was well-assisted by Brandon Chadwick while Gilmore and Bradley Lowe booted three goals apiece. For Maroochydore, Jonathan Giles worked tirelessly all day and should be commended for his efforts.

Labrador took out both the reserves and the colts premierships in a solid day out for the club. Their reserves side led all day in a dominant display, as did their colts team to claim two out of the day’s three flags.

 

Image Credit: Broadbeach Cats FC

QAFL Grand Final preview: Maroochydore and Broadbeach face off for maiden senior men’s flag

WITH the football season coming to an end, the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) is ramping up preparations ahead of their grand final match this weekend. The game is scheduled for 2:30pm on Saturday at Southport’s Fankhauser Reserve. The normality of proceedings will be a welcome change after a COVID-interrupted 2020 season, and with the Broadbeach and Maroochydore match-up on the cards, there couldn’t be much more excitement around this game.

Both of these teams will be looking for their first senior men’s QAFL premiership, so the stakes are quite high, and both sides will be leaving nothing in the tank. The last time these two sides faced off was actually back in August of 2020 due to the COVID outbreak in Queensland earlier this year. Both teams look a bit different since the last time they went head-to-head 391 days ago.

Maroochydore have stormed home throughout this finals series, making the big dance from an elimination spot. They took down Redland-Victoria Point in their first final with a barnstorming final quarter (which continues to be a theme in their finals wins), and were driven home off the back of seven goals from forward Mitchell ScholardThey claimed a 10-point victory to head into the semi-final where they took on Morningside, a match they would have entered with confidence given the way they finished their previous outing. This triumph was much more comfortable than the previous, with Maroochydore walking away winners to the tune of 34 points, setting up a mouthwatering clash with the top-of-the-table Labrador. Things looked grim at three quarter time, with Labrador holding a three-goal lead and looking dangerously close to advancing to a grand final. Once again, it was Maroochydore’s final quarter that held them in good stead, powering home to kick seven goals to two in the last term to claim a thrilling 10-point victory and advance to the deciding match.

Broadbeach had a slightly easier road to the grand final, only having to play one game in the first three weeks of finals, thanks to their second-placed finish at the end of the home-and-away season. They took on Labrador, and emerged victorious in a thrilling contest. Despite trailing by three points at the final break, Broadbeach was able to stand up in the fourth quarter, and claim a four-point victory to advance straight through to the final game. Given they have only played one game in four weeks, they will be as fresh as they can be.

This game will also host the league’s two leading goalkickers for the season, with Ray Hughson Medallist (leading goalkicker) Jordan Moncrieff lacing up the boots for Broadbeach, and Scholard lining up down the other end for Maroochydore. Moncrieff has been outstanding all year for his side, with a mid-season purple patch that saw the big forward boot 19 goals in two games. He will likely have a big say in the contest, but the elimination final showed that Scholard can turn a game on its head himself, and Maroochydore will be looking for him when driving the ball inside-50.

With both sides looking for their maiden flag, it is hard to determine who is the favorite heading into this clash. Broadbeach finished higher and will be well-rested, but can they stop the momentum of Maroochydore that has delivered for them time and time again?

 

Picture credit: Karen Simpson Photography

2020 AFL Draft Standouts: Geelong and Port Adelaide

AHEAD of the 2021 AFL National Draft, we cast our eyes back 12 months ago to when the newest draftees had their names read out, and what they have accomplished since at the elite level. In the fifth piece of 2020 AFL Draft standouts (first chance at AFL level), we look at the 3rd and 4th placed teams in Geelong and Port Adelaide.

Geelong

#20 Max Holmes
#33 Shannon Neale
#47 Nick Stevens

Geelong would be satisfied with their decision to trade a future first round draft pick to Richmond to secure the services of Holmes at pick 20. The speedy forward made his way into the Geelong senior team as early as round three, in their annual Easter Monday clash against Hawthorn. In his debut, Holmes was fantastic, gathering 16 disposals to go with four marks in a composed effort, but was unluckily dropped to serve as medical sub the following week. He found himself in and out of the team throughout the season, before cementing his spot in the forward line as the team geared up for another finals campaign. Holmes had strong performances of the home-and-away season, including gathering a career-high 18 disposals in the heartbreaking loss to the Demons in round 23. His place in the team was strong during the Cats’ finals appearances, and had career-high tackles and clearances in the semi-finals victory against the GWS Giants. Holmes has certainly impressed with his work when the ball is on the deck, and looks to be a big part of the future down at Kardinia Park.

Neale and Stevens did not feature at senior level, but were able to work on their craft at VFL level throughout the season.

Port Adelaide:

#16 Lachie Jones
#49 Ollie Lord
R: Taj Schofield

Jones proved to be a strong addition to the Port Adelaide list, featuring in six matches for the Power, a number that would have likely been higher if not for an unfortunate ankle injury sustained in round five against the Blues. Jones instantly won the hearts of the Port Adelaide faithful with his impressive play and even more impressive mullet. Jones had firmly established himself in the Power 22 with a spot across half-back thanks to strong defensive work and line-breaking run, and the injury ended up interrupting a promising season. Jones wouldn’t be able to cement a spot in the in-form Power squad as he recovered from the injury, but regardless, the future still looks strong for the cult hero.

Lord was able to develop at SANFL, learning from some of the veterans of the club in the art of a key forward in the modern game, booting 10 goals in 14 games at state league level. The other player taken in the Rookie Draft without any prior AFL experience was father-son prospect Taj Schofield, and whilst he did not get to step up to AFL level,  he averaged 16.9 disposals across 10 matches at SANFL level.

TSL Player Watch: Bryce Alomes

OVER the weekend, the Clarence Roos were able to defeat the Launceston Blues in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Development League grand final at UTAS Stadium. The Roos had plenty of standout performers, including forward Bryce Alomes, who starred up forward with five goals. His dominance forward of the ball allowed his team to gain and maintain a match-winning lead, and will be a key performance of reference for AFL scouts in the next few years as his draft hopes increase. Alomes has shown in the past that he has the ability to find the ball around the ground, but a bag of five in a grand final demonstrates how dynamic he is across the ground.

The first quarter saw the Blues get off to an inaccurate start while the Roos made the most of their chances, and Alomes was a part of this. Teammate Oliver Preshaw cut off an errant kick from the Launceston defence, and found Alomes on a strong lead 35m out from goal on a fair angle. It looked a tough task, given the windy conditions at time, but the number 58 was up to the challenge. Alomes booted the ball as straight as an arrow, with the goal umpire barely moving thanks to a beautiful kicking action. After putting his side two goals clear, Alomes spent much of the remainder of the term as a deep forward, with the Roos understanding of his strong leading presence despite his 189cm height, with skill and IQ make him just as big a threat as a key marking forward. A kick to his lead inside-50 fell just short, but the Launceston rebound didn’t last long with Alomes nearly taking a huge pack mark from a long ball deep into the forward line. He wasn’t able to reel in the mark, but was able to bring the ball to ground. History repeated itself, when only minutes later, he nearly reeled in another massive clunk, but despite controlling the ball for much of the journey, the mark was not paid.

Alomes started the second quarter still in the thick of the action, booting the opening goal of the term, marking the ball uncontested 20m out from goal with no angle, and the kick was no problem for the 17-year-old. Alomes remained a deep forward, which was the smart move given how dangerous he had proved to be so far in the contest. With the Blues booting goals down the other end to take the lead, it was Alomes who provided the spark for his side. Taking a mark 30m out in the left pocket, the forward once again was cool and calm in his approach, and booted his third goal of the match, proving to be a massive headache for Launceston coach Kane Sanders. Remarkably, he was yet to produce his best work, kicking an outstanding goal late in the second term. Alomes gathered a miskick from a teammate hard against the boundary line in the forward pocket, spun off a defender and booted an incredible goal from the tightest of angles. It showed not only skill, but composure to deliver under pressure, booting his fourth consecutive goal for his side.

Given his first-half dominance, the Blues changed things around at the main break in an attempt to make life difficult for Alomes, often leaving a second defender nearby to counteract his aerial prowess. This wouldn’t stop the red-hot forward, who booted his fifth goal after gathering the ball 25m out from goal and snapping around his body to truly claim the contest as his own. The remainder of the contest was unfortunately quieter with Launceston putting a lot of work into curbing his influence, but there is no doubt Alomes was a crucial factor in leading his side to the 2021 TSL Development League flag.

 

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

TSL Development League Grand Final: Roos run rampant to claim flag

THE Clarence Roos proved too good for the Launceston Blues in the Tasmanian State League grand final, taking down the reigning premiers to the tune of 14 points at the University of Tasmania Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Blues entered the match in search of back-to-back flags, but Clarence showed that they were the superior side, storming home in the final term to put the nail in the coffin and hop on the bus back to Hobart with premiership cup in hand.

The Blues had control of the game early, generating plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half of the first quarter, but couldn’t convert their hard work into scoreboard pressure, and it was their opponents who made them pay. The Roos booted the first major of the game through Jacob Young, with the goal set up by a blistering run from Jacques Barwick. Clarence shortly followed this up with another goal through Bryce Alomes and suddenly, the Blues found themselves on the back foot. It took some composure from the Blues backline to steady the ship, as speedy defender Jake Rice find teammate Jett Moloney to put Launceston on the board. Clarence entered the second term with a two-point advantage, and this looked to extend with a miraculous major from Wade Wall, but it was deemed touched. The Roos looked to break away again, with Alomes booting his second, but Blue Grant Holt brought his side back into the contest. The Blues finally hit the front with Moloney converting his second, and tempers began to flare. Launceston extended their lead with another major, but Alomes took control of the game, kicking his side’s next two (which was also four in a row for him), and the sides went into the main break all square.

The third term saw Alomes boot his fifth of the contest and the Roos start to build and hold a two-goal lead. Things looked to be one-way traffic, but Blue Colby McKercher booted a goal late in the term for his side, to bring the margin back down, and give Launceston a chance at consecutive flags. The fourth quarter saw scoring dry up, as the Blues missed their chance to reduce the margin to less than a goal, and neither side could gain an advantage. A strong contested mark from Roo Oliver Preshaw, who saw plenty of experience at senior level this year, thwarted a Launceston attack, and then it was Barwick who booted two goals in a minute to hand his side a match-winning lead, and the 2021 premiership cup.

For the victors, Luke Swinton claimed the medal for the player judged best afield, with his excellent work both at stoppages and on the open wing catching the eye of voters. Five-goal forward Alomes was also dominant, with the Blues backline seemingly having no answers for his play at times, while Barwick was also extremely damaging. For the Blues, McKercher’s third term was electric and kept his side right in the hunt.

Photo credit: Craig George

TSL Grand Final wrap: Blitzing Blues go back-to-back

FOR the second consecutive year, the Launceston Blues have defeated the North Launceston Bombers in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) grand final. The Blues were on top all day, and were able to hold off a number of Bomber charges to claim the 2021 premiership. The best side of the home-and-away season, the Blues displayed their class and fitness to run out with an impressive and deserved win.

Blues playing-coach Mitch Thorp booted two goals in the first term to start his side’s day in excellent fashion. Former Hawk Thorp was the only inclusion for the Blues following their preliminary finals win over Clarence, replacing his brother Cody, who was handed a suspension. The Blues would add to their tally through forward Brendan Taylor and it suddenly looked ominous for North Launceston. The Bombers shortly after began to find their attacking mojo, but were continuously interrupted by the Blues’ backline, before finally slotting their first through Brandon Leary. The siren sounded on an entertaining quarter with the Blues up by a single goal, before tempers flared between Blue Jack Tuthil and Bomber Judah Edmunds, which sparked a cross-town melee.

The second quarter saw an injury to 2021 Rodney Eade medallist and Bombers captain-coach Brad Cox-Goodyer, who was forced to spend the rest of the game forward of the ball, but still found plenty of ways to impact the game, including an impressive volley goal out of mid-air. The Blues entered the second half four points up, and thanks to some handy conversion, were able to extend and hold on to the lead. A final quarter hanger from Jake Smith proved a highlight and was shortly followed by the sealing goal for the Blues, courtesy of Zach Morris, which saw the Blues run out victors to the tune of 34 points.

For the Blues, veteran ruckman Joe Groenewegen was awarded the Darrel Baldock Medal for the player judged best afield in the match. He fought hard in the ruck against Bomber Alex Lee, and was able to float forward to boot two goals despite rucking solo for most of the day. He was well-aided by teammates Jay Blackberry and Jobi Harper, who set up plenty of scoring for the Blues, while Alec Wright and Jayden Hinds did excellent jobs in the backline. For the Bombers, Mark Walsh battled all day in a commendable performance.

The Blues became just the third side to win consecutive flags in the rebooted TSL competition.

Image Credit: The Examiner

TSL Grand Final Match Preview

DESPITE many leagues falling victim to a COVID-interrupted season, the Tasmanian State League (TSL) has managed to avoid these hurdles, and have reached their final match of the season. The grand final will take place at the University of Tasmania Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the Launceston Blues and the North Launceston Bombers set to lock horns and resume their rivalry in what should be a heated contest.

Launceston defeated North Launceston in last year’s grand final, and were the dominant team throughout the home-and-away season, so many expected them to cruise to a second consecutive flag. This all changed when the Bombers sent shockwaves across the league by upsetting the reigning premiers in the semi-finals, booking their ticket straight to the big dance, while causing some nerves amongst Blues fans. Launceston were forced to take the long route to the grand final, taking on Clarence in a preliminary final, a side who had proved too much at times during the season. The class of the Blues was able to shine through as they took the Roos apart, storming away with a 52-point win, setting up a rematch of last year’s grand final.

Given the cross-town rivalry between the two sides, there is sure to be plenty of fireworks at various stages of the match. Last year’s decider saw an all-in melee on the quarter time siren, and there is a strong possibility of similar scenes in this match.

North Launceston will be benefited by the services of 2021 Alistair Lynch medallist Brad Cox-Goodyer, who has proved time and time again, he can lead by example and drag his side to crucial victories. His ability to not only find the ball, but kick bags of goals is unparalleled across the league, and Launceston would be wise to put some time into curving his influence. Another dangerous weapon for this side is midfielder Jay Foon, who has had some impressive outings against the Blues, including 28 disposals, nine clearances and two goals in Round 8 of this season. One of the league’s premier extractors, Foon could play a big role in driving his side to a flag.

Launceston will welcome playing-coach Mitch Thorp back into the team, replacing suspended brother Cody, and the ex-Hawk will need to play a crucial role ahead of the ball as a leading target. Jay Blackberry can also wreak havoc across the half-forward line, and was voted the best player of the season by the media, so he should feature prominently for the Blues, while Jake Hinds has the ability to not only find plenty of the ball, but seriously hurt the opposition when he uses it. Hinds is one of the league’s star midfielders, so there’s a strong chance the Bombers will pay close attention to him.

For fans of the sport and the league, this is a mouth-watering clash. A rematch of last year’s decider between two traditional rivals and the league’s two best sides, this match could go either way and should prove necessary viewing on Sunday afternoon.

 

Picture credit: Craig George

Kai’s the limit for talented Watts

FOR many young guns coming through the ranks in their football career, the journey contains big cities and luxury to support their career. For GWS Academy member Kai Watts, it’s a three-hour bus ride on the way to brutal fitness testing. This is a sacrifice he is willing to make in order to follow his dream of making the AFL in the upcoming draft.

A speedy mid-forward, Watts began his football journey in Wagga Wagga, playing in his hometown for the first 15 years of his life. Watts then moved to Sydney to complete his year 11 and 12 studies, but his football passion remained, playing for the Western Suburbs Magpies at Premier League level.

Watts says his football journey looked a second priority, before a surprising decision saw him focus all his energy on the sport he thrives in.

“Obviously I came through from under-12’s and 13’s, but I wasn’t really doing much Academy. I was more choosing another sport over AFL.

“I turned the tables one day and just wanted to focus on footy, and from under-15’s, 16’s, 17’s and 18’s now, I’ve just been with the Giants and loving every moment of it.”

Watts has been one to keep an eye on for a number of years now, but his shining moment came in 2019, winning his state’s Under-16 MVP award.

With the ability to both use his speed in the midfield, and hit the scoreboard in the forward line, Watts will likely prove quite a valuable asset with the shape of the modern game, with mid-forward rotations nearly essential at the top level, especially with his strong skills by foot and ferocious tackling.

With midfielders only getting taller as the game goes forward, Watts claims he thrives on playing against bigger bodies, allowing him to use his strength around the contest.

Now deep into his journey to the AFL, Watts says he still has plenty of fun running on to the field with some of his mates who have shared the journey along the way.

“I love playing footy against them when we play intra-clubs, but when I’m on their team it’s always good fun.”

With the 2021 AFL draft just around the corner, Watts says he will be looking to improve his fitness levels moving forward, a goal quite achievable given his current work ethic holding him in good stead for a number of years.

Despite a COVID-interrupted season, Watts has still managed to catch the eye of spectators when he has been able to hit the field, so expect to hear more about him in the next couple of months.

 

Picture credit: GWS Giants Academy via Facebook

2020 AFL Draft Standouts: Brisbane and GWS

AHEAD of the 2021 AFL National Draft, we cast our eyes back 12 months ago to when the newest draftees had their names read out, and what they have accomplished since at the elite level. In the fifth piece of 2020 AFL Draft standouts (first chance at AFL level), we look at the 5th and 6th placed teams in GWS and Brisbane.

GWS:

#12 Tanner Bruhn
#15 Conor Stone
#18 Ryan Angwin
#58 Cameron Fleeton
#59 Jacob Wehr

The GIANTS entered this draft following a disappointing season, with a goal of adding some high quality young talent to form the future of the club. Their first selection came in the form of Geelong Falcons midfielder Tanner Bruhn, who had showed at lower level his ability to read the play and win the contested ball. Bruhn made his debut in Round 1, finishing the contest with nine disposals, five contested possessions and three score involvements as his side fell to St Kilda by eight points. He would go on to play 13 out of a possible 25 games for the year. He racked up a career-high 14 disposals in the GIANTS’ win against Richmond, while his strongest all-around performance came in round 21 against Geelong, where Bruhn recorded 12 disposals, four marks, five tackles and a goal, proving to be a vital contributor in his side’s upset win over the Cats. The 19-year-old retained his spot through the GIANTS’ two finals and despite the semi-final loss, Bruhn looked lively when the ball entered his team’s forward 50. With plenty to build on, Bruhn can hold his head high after an impressive debut season.

The GIANTS’ next pick in the draft was used to select Conor Stone, a youngster who can play at either end of the field and had shown his decision-making and skill by foot. With the GIANTS losing rebounding defender Zac Williams to Carlton in the free agency period, the door opened for Stone to make his debut in Round 4, where he recorded 11 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two intercept possessions, playing off half-back as his side defeated Collingwood by five goals. He built on this performance with an impressive display the following week, gathering 13 touches (at 85 per cent efficiency), four marks, six contested possessions and five score involvements in the GIANTS’ two-point win over the Swans. He would finish off the season with five games played and some valuable experience under his belt.

The GIANTS’ three remaining draft picks would not feature in the 2021 season, but were able to develop in the Victorian Football League (VFL). Ryan Angwin, a classy left-footed defender/forward, averaged 15 disposals, while Jacob Wehr averaged an impressive 18 touches per game. Defender Cameron Fleeton was able to work on his defensive craft, playing on some of the VFL’s best forwards throughout the year.

 

Brisbane:

#24 Blake Coleman
#43 Harry Sharp
#48 Henry Smith

The Lions had an excellent 2020 season, making the preliminary finals, but this caused them to enter the draft with a weaker hand than other clubs. The Lions’ first pick selected Blake Coleman, an electric small forward fresh off a QAFL premiership with Morningside. With his older brother Keidean finding himself in Brisbane’s best 22 as a defender throughout the season, the Lions had high hopes for the next Coleman. With Brisbane’s forward line stacked with the likes of Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy at AFL level, Coleman was forced to bide his time in the VFL, where he averaged 13 disposals and kicked six goals in 10 games.

The Lions then used their 43rd pick in the draft to select Harry Sharp, a running defender from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels who had the ability to break into the Lions’ side almost immediately with his outstanding time trial numbers and professionalism. Sharp debuted in round one against the Swans, recording 11 disposals and laying three tackles in an eye-catching outing for the defender. Unfortunately, injuries prevented Sharp from continuity within the side, playing just two games for the senior side and four in the VFL. Sharp’s short stint was still able to impress fans with his gut-running, and the 19-year-old will be looking for a clean bill of health to help him break into the senior side in 2022.

The Lions’ final pick was used to take Henry Smith, a young ruckman from South Australia standing at a whopping 206cm. The club is hopeful he will take the mould of current ruckman Oscar McInerney, and while he did not feature at senior level, Smith averaged nine disposals a game in the VFL while booting 12 goals in eight matches.

 

Picture credit: Getty Images