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Player Reviews: Cutler, Gardiner and Witherden

Player Review: Cutler, Gardiner & Witherden Tom Cutler and Darcy Gardiner both had good seasons while Alex Witherden showed us a bright future in the AFL.

#26 Tom Cutler

A very successful season last year saw Tom Cutler take home the Marcus Ashcroft Award for the Club’s Most Professional Player.

This year, Cutler was again strong, collecting 148 kicks, 231 disposals, 66 marks, 16 tackles and eight goals in 12 Senior matches. 

Cutler’s best game was in the Lions' 57-point victory over Fremantle, kicking a career-high three goals and grabbing a season-high ten marks.

The 22-year-old’s great hand and foot skills throughout the Round 12 match secured Cutler Player of the Round honours. 

Senior Matches: 12, NEAFL Matches: 6 

#27 Darcy Gardiner

Darcy Gardiner had a prominent season in the Senior side, playing all bar three AFL games.

Having earned a reputation as the ‘competitive beast’ after being awarded the Shaun Hart award for the Club’s Most Competitive Player in 2016, the tall defender had a status to fulfil.  

Despite suffering from a dislocated elbow during the Round 15 victory over Essendon, Gardiner made a return by Round 18 and finished his season on a high.

The 22-year-old played his best game during the final round of the season, collecting 20 disposals and 6 marks. Despite the disappointing final round loss, Gardiner was positive about the Club’s growth.

“We’ve got to look at the bigger picture and how we improved over the season. That’s the main thing for us.”

Gardiner recommitted to the Brisbane Lions in 2016 for another three years, and the Club is excited to see what Gardiner can achieve under Fagan’s coaching next season.

Senior Matches: 19, NEAFL Matches: 0

#29 Alex Witherden

After being selected at pick #23 during the 2016 AFL Draft and undergoing surgery on his broken leg in January, Witherden undoubtedly proved his worth this season.

The prolific ball winner dominated the midfield in the Lions’ NEAFL team earlier in the year, before earning his AFL debut.

The 19-year-old got his Senior call up in Round 14 against the GWS Giants where he collected 20 disposals, 12 kicks and seven marks.

However, it was the Round 17 match against Port Adelaide where the young player showcased his outstanding potential, bringing home the Lions’ Player of the Round. 

Witherden was also nominated as AFL Rising Star for Round 17, after collecting 28 disposals with a 68 percent disposal efficiency.

The young defender finished as 17th on the 2017 Rising Star Nomination tally and averaged 23.6 disposals, 15.9 kicks and 5.3 marks.

Witherden played nine of the final ten games for the season, only missing Round 21 due to a minor hamstring injury.

It was an incredible debut season for Witherden. Watch this space.

Senior matches: 9, NEAFL matches: 8 


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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs