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Player Reviews: Ben Keays, Allen Christensen and Ryan Bastinac

Player Reviews: Keays, Christensen and Bastinac See highlights from Ben Keays, Allen Christensen and Ryan Bastinac's seasons.

Throughout September, lions.com.au will be reviewing the seasons of all members of our current playing group. Today we start with Ben Keays, Allen Christensen and Ryan Bastinac. 

#1 - Ben Keays

Ben Keays was outstanding in the NEAFL in his third year at the Lions, but couldn't quite take the next step up to cracking a consistent starting spot in the Senior side. 

The young midfielder/forward played two Senior matches, with his 17 disposal and one goal performance against North Melbourne in Round 11 a highlight. Unfortunately, a quieter effort the next week against Essendon saw him moved back to the NEAFL for the remainder of the season. 

At the NEAFL level, Keays dominated, being named in the best players on eight occasions in his 16 matches.

A highlight of Keays' game in 2018 was his defensive pressure, which saw him average just over five tackles a game. He also averaged 27 disposals per game and kicked 14 goals for the season. 

At the Lions' 2018 Club Champion, Keays was rewarded for his great year by winning the Neville Fallon Reserves Best and Fairest Award in a four-way tie with Corey Lyons, Ryan Bastinac and Claye Beams. 

Senior matches: 2, NEAFL matches: 16 

#3 - Allen Christensen

One of the feel-good stories of 2018 for Lions fans was seeing Allen Christensen back on the field.

Christensen missed a good two years of football with a recurring collarbone injury, but he returned to action to play all 22 Senior matches in 2018. 

The small forward started the year in excellent fashion, collecting 21 disposals in Round 1 and kicking three goals in Round 2. 

He did have one hiccup in Round 11 against North Melbourne, when a heavy head knock early on saw him ruled out for the remainder of the game. 

His best performances for the year came near the end of the season, when he was thrust into the unfamiliar role of defence.

Christensen's run out of the back half was excellent for the Lions, with his 26 disposal performance against West Coast in Round 23 a highlight.

He finished the season averaging 18 disposals, 2.5 tackles and nearly four marks a match. 

As a member of the Lions' leadership group, Christensen was again superb with his leadership on and off the field. He recently helped to launch the Club's first Reconciliation Action Plan.

Christensen signed a one-year contract extension for 2019 with the Lions midway through the season. 

Coaches Comment - Jed Adcock, Forwards Coach. 

"Bundy had a strong year back after two years out. He played the majority as a forward and showed some real promise late in the year when he went to defence - we found a nice spot for him and he did some good things."

Senior matches: 22, Goals: 16

#4 - Ryan Bastinac

2018 was a frustrating year for experienced midfielder Ryan Bastinac.

Bastinac finished 2017 in great form for the Lions, playing the last 12 matches of the season and making a great contribution in each game. 

Unfortunately, Bastinac couldn't continue his form through pre-season and was unable to find a spot in the Senior side to start the year. 

He started the NEAFL season as one of the Lions' best and forced his way into the Senior side for Round 5. A solid performance wasn't enough for him to keep his spot, and he wasn't sighted again in the AFL until Round 20. 

Bastinac showed great leadership for the Lions NEAFL team this year and finished as a joint winner of the Neville Fallon Reserves Best and Fairest Award. In 17 NEAFL matches, Bastinac averaged 26 disposals per game and kicked 19 goals. 

Senior matches: 2, NEAFL matches: 17

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