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Fagan building 'destination club' culture

The Brisbane Lions are on their way to becoming a destination club thanks to the culture that is being built under coach Chris Fagan, star youngster Cameron Rayner says.

The No.1 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft pointed to the acquisitions of Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge and Adelaide speedster Charlie Cameron as a turning point in the direction of the club.

Rayner clearly believes the Lions are building something special, with the 18-year-old signing a new two-year contract extension – two more years on top of his mandatory draftee contract – until the end of the 2021 season.

"It's just the culture we're building. Everyone wants to be there," Rayner said on Monday.

"We want to make it a club that people want to come to and especially with Hodgey and Charlie Cameron coming in this year, I think you can see that people want to come and play for the Lions.

"If we can keep building like that over the next couple of years, and bring in some more people, and get the younger boys to sign on, that will be a good sign."

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Rayner is hopeful of a round one berth in his maiden AFL season but knows there is plenty of work to do over the coming months to book his place in Fagan's team.

A forward role, with stints in the midfield, beckons for the 187cm, 87kg Rayner.

As his career evolves, a more permanent place on ball looks his likely destination once he improves his endurance base.

Rayner believes that process is already underway, having noticed improvement in that area.

Rayner's aerobic capacity was one query on him during his junior career, running a 2km time trial in 7:57 minutes in front of recruiters in November after a knee injury ruled him out of completing the test at October's NAB AFL Draft Combine. 

"Being up in Brisbane you get a bit more used to running in the humid weather and when we had a training camp (in December) in Tassie you go down there and you just feel like you're running on fresh air," Rayner said.

"It's (his endurance) getting better and we've had a bit more to do at training, like extra running sessions and things like that."

Rayner joined players taken in last year's national and rookie drafts for the AFL Players' Association/AFL induction day at Etihad Stadium on Monday to learn about the resources that are available to them throughout their careers.


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