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Lions cruise to NEAFL practice match victory

The Brisbane Lions flexed their muscles against Aspley in a NEAFL practice match on Saturday afternoon as players staked their claim for AFL Round 1 selection.

With 14 AFL-listed players taking to the field, the Lions were too strong for a Hornets side which rotated through its entire list over the four quarters to test the club’s depth.

Lions forwards coach, Zane Littlejohn – who coached the side on the day – said it was important the players made their mark as they cruised to a 78-point victory at South Pine Sports Complex.

Tom Cutler kicked four goals. 

“We wanted to try and build on our brand of footy and leave a good first impression on Aspley,” he told

“The real focus is what we have been working on all pre-season – finding a real good balance with our ball movement and then obviously trying to make sure our contested stuff is really good aswell.

“We want pressure coming from below for our AFL guys to know they have to step up. We hope some of these guys knock the door down to be in that team for Round 1.”

Former AFL players Andrew Swallow, Jake Spencer and Jono Freeman all made their first appearances for Aspley, making solid contributions in the first half before they were rested alongside several experienced players after half-time.

Spencer showed his class, battling the strong Lions ruck duo of Oscar McInerney and Archie Smith while co-captain Ben Warren also stood out in the first half.

Tom Cutler was one of the best for the Lions with four goals, while the match was also a chance for 2017 draftees Toby Wooller (two goals), Connor Ballenden (one) and Zac Bailey to impress.

Toby Wooller in action. 

The Lions had eight academy players complementing their AFL listed players, with Ben Sloan (two goals) particularly strong with a hunger for the contest.

Littlejohn was pleased with the way the academy players stepped up.

“I thought they were really impressive,” he said.

“We spoke about building some trust with your teammates and they went the right way about that today through their actions, winning the contested ball and being compliant with the structure.

“Full credit to our AFL-listed players for leading the way for those boys to come in and execute the way that they did.”

Brisbane will have a week off before taking on QAFL club Wilston Grange in their next practice match on March 24.

Aspley will take on Southport at Graham Rd next week. 

Zac Bailey chats with Chris Fagan.

NEAFL Practice Match

BRISBANE 5.2 9.5 11.9 16.13 (109)
ASPLEY 2.0 4.1 4.4 4.7 (31)

GOALS – Brisbane: T Cutler 4 J Barrett 2 R Bewick 2 B Sloan 2 T Wooller 2 R Bastinac 1 A Smith 1 C McFayden 1 C Ballenden 1. Aspley: J Nelis 2 J Ives 1 B Warren 1.

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