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Rayner takes out No. 1

Probably the only person who was surprised Cameron Rayner was the No.1 overall pick at the NAB AFL Draft, was Rayner himself.

"Figured out probably about 20 seconds ago," Rayner said, immediately after his name was read out on Friday night at the Sydney Showgrounds.

"A mate just came up to me before and said that looks like it's going to be the case, so just really excited and happy to be a part of the Brisbane Lions."


There was a little bit of talk the Lions were considering a couple other players, including Luke Davies-Uniacke, who went fourth overall to North Melbourne, for the coveted top selection.

But in the end, Rayner's explosive play through the midfield and also up forward for the Western Jets and Victoria Metro was too good to ignore.

Rayner has long been destined for great things.

At the age of nine, he was dubbed 'Hollywood' by his junior coach at Hillside for the way he took the game on and loved kicking a goal.

Rayner certainly did plenty of that, including one game in the under-16s when he booted 14.6, including eight goals in the first quarter.

Rayner has earned comparisons to Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin for his work in the midfield and ability to impact the scoreboard.

He becomes the first Western Jets product to be the No.1 overall pick.

"It's just a big honour," Rayner said.

"To see some of the banners up here and some of the players that have been pick one before me, I've just got some big shoes to fill.

"I just want to start working and get into it."


Rayner joins an exciting batch of youngsters at the Lions, including last year's third overall pick Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, Eric Hipwood and Alex Witherden.

The Lions also added Hawthorn veteran Luke Hodge and Adelaide speedster Charlie Cameron during the NAB AFL Trade Period.

"There's definitely some good, young talent there," Rayner said.

"I think over the trade season, besides having the number one pick, they also got some good players in Luke Hodge and Charlie Cameron.

"I'm just really looking forward to getting there, meeting everyone and start to work."

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