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Lions Academy announce 2018 lists

Sean Melrose, AFL Queensland  November 8, 2017 4:26 PM

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Lions Academy graduate Connor Ballenden at the 2017 AFL Draft Combine.

The Brisbane Lions Academy have announced their under 18 squad for 2018 with training set to begin on Monday the 13th of November.

“It’s always exciting when you put the under 18 squad together for the summer and next season,” said Brisbane Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran.

“There’s obviously some excitement and nerves and expectation for them.”

It’s the first step for many of these players, as they start their pre-season with the goal of preparing themselves in the best way possible to enter their draft year.

“We try and sort of bring as much of the AFL pre-season program back to the under 18 program,” he said.

“A lot of them are still studying, or boys that are in their 18th year next year might be finishing school and going to university, or getting part time jobs, so we have to balance that with what we can do with them in a couple of football sessions a week.”

The newly announced Lions Academy side will play in the NAB AFL Under 18 Academy Series next year, against the other AFL academy sides and both the Northern Territory and Tasmanian state teams.

The NAB AFL Academy Series replaced division two of the NAB AFL Under 18 National Championships this year.

Highly touted Lions Academy graduates Jack Payne, Connor Ballenden and Jack Clayton will be nervously awaiting the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, which will kick off on the 24th of November.

“They’re just in a bit of a holding pattern now,” said Curran.

“Unfortunately there’s not much else they can do, they’ve got to get through the next few weeks and not worry about things they can’t control.”

The young trio have the opportunity to join five other academy products on the Lions list including: Liam Dawson, Eric Hipwood, Ben Keays, Harris Andrews and Jacob Allison.

Along with the under 18 squad, the under 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 squads were also announced with the youth girls squad and 19-year-old NEAFL development list still yet to be released.

Former Geelong Cat Josh Hunt will again coach the Lions Academy side in 2018.

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