The Brisbane Lions today advised Callum Bartlett, Niall McKeever, Stephen Wrigley, and Richard Newell that they were being delisted by the Club.
Bartlett, McKeever and Newell all made significant contributions in the Lions Reserves’ NEAFL Grand Final win over Aspley on the weekend, while Wrigley remains sidelined after rupturing his ACL during the pre-season.
General Manager of Football Operations Dean Warren passed on the Club’s best wishes to each of the four players.
“Everyone at the Brisbane Lions would like to sincerely thank these young men for their professionalism and commitment to the Club during their time here,” Warren said.
“We wish them only the best for the future.”
Bartlett’s journey at the Lions comes to an end after four seasons – most of which have been cruelled by injury.
A highly rated junior, Bartlett was drafted to the Club with Pick No.27 at the 2009 AFL National Draft with the knowledge that he would require further rehabilitation from a torn ACL early in his final TAC Cup season with the Geelong Falcons.
He underwent a second full knee reconstruction midway through his debut season with the Lions, which would keep him sidelined for another 12 months, before returning through the Reserves midway through 2011.
Bartlett has since gotten some continuity back in his football through the NEAFL, but unfortunately never had the chance to play at senior level.
He did, however, play key roles in the Lions Reserves’ back-to-back NEAFL titles in 2012 and 2013.
McKeever also departs after four seasons with the Lions, over which he played 22 senior AFL games and kicked two goals.
McKeever was recruited from County Antrim in Ireland with the Club’s 67th selection at the 2009 AFL Rookie Draft.
Having never played with an oval-shaped ball before, the Irishman naturally took some time to grasp the previously foreign sport, and spent his entire first season fine-tuning his skills with the Lions Reserves.
He made his senior AFL debut in Round 14 of 2011, finding a niche in defence.
McKeever has since performed roles down back, up forward, and in even in the ruck. However, he could manage just three senior matches in 2013.
Newell made history by becoming the first ever NSW/ACT Scholarship Player to find his way onto the Lions' list when the Club selected him with their fourth selection (Pick No.57 overall) at the 2011 AFL Rookie Draft.
A supreme endurance runner, he quickly made a name for himself as a run-with player for the Lions Reserves and has since formed part of the team’s midfield in the NEAFL.
He was a member of the Lions’ 2013 NEAFL premiership win over the Hornets, after missing last year’s Grand Final due to shoulder surgery.
Wrigley arrived at the Club as a highly credentialed mature-age recruit from Labrador in the local State League.
He enjoyed another stellar NEAFL campaign with the Lions Reserves in 2012, playing predominantly across half-back, and featured in three AFL matches with the Club after being elevated to the senior list towards the end of the year.
Wrigley’s second AFL season finished before it even started, with the 26-year-old rupturing his ACL during a Reserves practice match and undergoing a full knee reconstruction.
While the departure of players at the end of each season is inevitable, the Club acknowledges the contributions made by Bartlett, McKeever, Newell and Wrigley, and wish them all the best for the future.