Main content

NEAFL: A year of learning for the Lions

NEAFL season review NEAFL coach Mitch Hahn reviews the NEAFL's 2018 season.

After a stunning premiership victory in 2017, this year was a challenging one for the Brisbane Lions' NEAFL side. 

The season started with a tough loss to the NT Thunder in Darwin. Following that, the Lions were nigh on unstoppable for the next couple of months.

“After that game [Round 1] we went on a really strong run,” Coach Mitch Hahn said.

“We had some really positive performances from players and were able to get some wins on the board.

“We dominated the competition in that period. We were really pleased with how we started.”

It wasn’t until Round 8 when the Lions tasted their second defeat of the season, but that loss triggered a six-match losing streak that threatened to derail their season.

“We came to a really challenging part of the season after Round 7 when we ended up losing six games in a row,” Hahn said. 

“We as the coaches had numerous discussions because we thought if we had played our best footy we should have won.

“What we ended up doing was giving our experienced players like Claye Beams, Rohan Bewick, Ryan Bastinac and Corey Lyon ownership of the team. 

“They started to buy into the process and do the reviews and opposition analysis. That certainly helped.”

Hahn singled out a number of individuals for their development in 2018, including Toby Wooller, Sam Skinner and Tom Fullarton. 

A number of players also moved from the NEAFL side into the Seniors during the season, including Matt Eagles, Zac Bailey, Oscar McInerney and Brandon Starcevich. 

Overall, the team’s ability to recover from a mid-season slump was a highlight from Hahn. 

“We were able to see a growth in our group – from starting out the season really strong, to go through a patch where things became really difficult and challenging mentally and physically.”

“To be able to dig our way out of that in the last six games and qualify for the finals was great.

“The players will be able to look back at that period and see that they’ve learnt something about themselves.”

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