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Noble on Payne, Lions Academy and contract extensions

Michael Gosman  February 7, 2018 10:38 AM

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The publicity and buzz generated by Alex Witherden's re-signing last week did have one drawback; it drowned out the news that draftee Jack Payne had extended his contract for a further year. 

A defender already possessing a body capable of battling it out with mature key forwards, Payne is another success story of the Hyundai Help for Kids Brisbane Lions Academy.

Payne's signature adds to a successful offseason for General Manager of Football David Noble.

"We've been able to secure a lot of our talent," Noble said to RadioTAB this morning. 

"What's exciting is guys like Jack Payne, one of our local Academy graduates, we've been able to extend him already. 

"The conversations we've been having with managers is that guys want to stay and that's really encouraging and a tick of approval.

"We're excited about moving into the new season. 

Payne, a prodigious talent in athletics when younger, could have possibly been preparing for the Commonwealth Games right now if it wasn't for the Lions Academy. 

"He could have been in the Games squad for sure," Noble said.

"He is a powerful young man and that was part of the attraction that drew the guys [Ashley Drake and Luke Curran - Lions Academy and recruiting staff] originally.

"They got him into the Academy squad. He played in our NEAFL premiership team last year and now he is doing everything he needs to do at training and off the field. He is an exciting talent for sure."

In another positive for the Lions, the talent that continues to flow through the Lions Academy looks set to continue.

"The Academy is a really strong focus. We've got a really detailed strategic plan that we're delivering to the AFL at the moment in regards to what the next five years look like," Noble said.

"It's a massive advantage that we've got up here. The zone that we've got is very productive." 

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