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Player Reviews: Part 1

September 12, 2016 2:02 PM

AFL 2016 Rd 05 - Western Bulldogs v Brisbane

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: (L-R) Daniel Rich, Mitch Robinson, Allen Christensen and Josh Walker of the Lions leave the field at half time during the 2016 AFL Round 05 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 23, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

While 2016 was a disappointing season overall for the Lions, with just three wins and a spate of injuries, some young cubs showed plenty of promise in their development.

Today begins its series of player reviews, in numerical order by guernsey number.

#1 - Ben Keays

The hard-working forward/midfielder impressed with his debut season for the Brisbane Lions. He played 16 matches for 2016, averaging 11 disposals and 8 handballs. The 19-year-old kicked his first career goal against the Sydney Swans in Round 6 and went on to score another 3 goals for the season. Leading into his second pre-season at the Brisbane Lions, Keays has set the bar high for 2017.

Coaches notes:

A first year player – played 16 games mainly as a forward. He kicked four goals for the season, spent minimal time through the midfield but moving forward we’ll train him in the midfield group to potentially play hopefully more games in the midfield in 2017.

#2 - Ryan Harwood

Defender Ryan Harwood played 13 games for 2016. Mid-season injury put a halt to Harwood’s season when the 25-year-old was transferred to the long-term injury list in June after scans confirmed he had ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament. Harwood totalled 181 disposals with an average of 13.9.

Coaches notes:

Harwood played the first 13 games for 2016, the most consecutive games he’s played in his career. Unfortunately he missed the last 10 games through injury. He is currently in rehab. Hopefully he’ll have another successful year down back due to his maturity and ability to drive the ball out of the defensive 50.

#3 - Allen Christensen

Christensen played 11 games of the 2016 season and averaged 16.6 disposals. A courageous attack for a disputed ball left the 25 year old with an injured collarbone which inevitably ended his season. He was due to play his 100th game.

Coaches notes:

Bundy wasn’t able to get a good run at it in 2016. He finished runner-up in the Murray-Merrett Medal last year but unfortunately injury ruined his season. He still has some upper body strengthening to do before he is considered 100 per cent but should be cherry-ripe for pre-season come November.

Allen Christensen lays injured during the 2016 AFL Round 11 match between the Carlton Blues and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on June 4, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

#4 - Ryan Bastinac

One of only two players in 2016 to play every senior match, Ryan Bastinac tried to make the most of his move up north. He averaged 10.5 kicks and 21 disposals.

Coaches notes:

It was Ryan’s first year at the football club moving across from North Melbourne. He finished third in clearances, fourth in contested possession, top 10 in the best and fairest for us. He played all games, mainly through the midfield. Moving forward he probably just needs to work on his ability to impact the game more for longer periods in the game but for a first year at the club it was a successful year.

#5 - Mitch Robinson

Mitch Robinson played 21 games in 2016 averaging 22 possessions per game with a season high of 39 disposals against West Coast in Round 13. The 26-year-old is no stranger to run-with roles. Robinson was commended in 2016 for his strong series of negating roles on some of the competition’s in-form midfielders - Matt Priddis, Lachie Neale, Bryce Gibbs and Sam Mitchell to name a few. One of Robinson's best performances was his run-with role on Bryce Gibbs, holding the Blues star to just 12 possessions while racking up 25 himself, 15 of them contested, and laying eight tackles.

Coaches notes:

Finished 2nd in the best and fairest, number one in clearances with 107 for the season for us. Number one in contested possession for us, he had the hard jobs of tagging the oppositions best players for the year. He had good scalps in Matthew Priddis and Gary Ablett which helped us win that game against Gold Coast. In his second year at the Club, he’s finished first and second in the best and fairest. It’s another successful year for Mitch.

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