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Intra-club: Highlights and Observations

Highlights: Intra-club Watch the best moments from our intra-club last Friday.

The Brisbane Lions’ emerging stars impressed in last Friday night’s intra-club in front of a few hundred fans.

Here are our observations from who excelled under lights at Coorparoo.

Young Guns

Hugh McCluggage was the best of the young guns and appeared to have all the time in the world with the ball. His noticeably bigger frame has helped him immensely in gathering contested ball. 

No. 1 draft pick Cam Rayner split his time between the midfield and half-forward flank. He laid on a couple of monster tackles and ran out the match well. 

After a delayed start to pre-season training due to a foot injury, Jarrod Berry was strong and had a few nice touches in contested situations.

Alex Witherden was solid in defence and appears to be on track to continue his form from the back half of 2017. 

Academy graduates Jack Payne and Connor Ballenden both took a couple of strong contested marks and showed they wouldn’t look out of place in the Senior side.

Zac Bailey thrilled the crowd in the third quarter and showed off the pace that got him drafted by bursting through the middle of the park and setting up Allen Christensen for a goal.

Less Turnovers

Probably the biggest difference in this year’s intra-club compared to previous years was the reduction in turnovers occurring and the number of repeat forward 50 entries increasing.

This is obviously an area Chris Fagan and his coaching staff have focused on in pre-season and it looks to be on the right track.

In 2017 the Lions had the ball in their forward half an average of 15 minutes per game less than their opponents.  

With the likes of Christensen, Mitch Robinson, Cam Rayner, Lewy Taylor, Charlie Cameron and others able to apply plenty of pressure in the forward line, the Lions should be able to lock the ball up in their forward half a lot more in 2018. 

The Returns

Tom Bell was powerful in his return from a long injury layoff, kicking two goals and spending plenty of time in the midfield. 

Robinson and Christensen both had strong hit-outs and were ferocious with their attack on the ball. 

Bell, Robbo and Bundy all look likely to press their chances for a Round 1 spot this weekend at AFLX in Sydney. 

Classy Forwards

The Lions forward line is shaping up to be extremely exciting in 2018 judging by a few of the performances on Friday night.

Eric Hipwood showed his class by kicking a few majors including a wonderful left foot snap from long range.

Lewy Taylor kicked the game’s first goal from a tight angle and was at his creative and zippy best for the remainder of the contest.

In a less than familiar role up front, Tom Cutler was superb and staked his claim for a Round 1 spot. 

Established Stars

Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko were as classy as always in the midfield.

Stef Martin was dominant in the ruck and spent time up forward when Archie Smith and Oscar McInerney were battling it out.

Harris Andrews copped an early knock but bounced back to play a strong role in defence. His battle with Hipwood was a highlight. 

Luke Hodge was vocal and made a noticeable difference to the organisation of the Lions’ backline. 

Who else impressed?

Rhys Mathieson was excellent around stoppages and kicked a few cracking goals to prove to the coaches he is ready to step up in 2018.

Nick Robertson impressed with his usual ferocious attack on the ball. Liam Dawson took a couple of great grabs and was very vocal.

Jacob Allison kicked a monster goal from 55m out.

Cedric Cox burst down the wing a couple of times showing off his trademark speed. 

Corey Lyons, who was on the brink of making his Senior debut in 2017, found plenty of the ball and kicked a nice goal.

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