As Senior Coach Chris Fagan looks to make a change in his forward line ahead of this weekend’s elimination Semi Final, a raft of emerging Lions are ready to step up if needed.
A valuable hit-out against Southport in a VFL practice match on Sunday sees a number of players standing ready as reinforcements should they be called upon during the Lions’ 2021 Finals campaign.
With Fagan watching on from a distance, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Tom Joyce, Tom Berry and Deven Robertson all starred against a mature and hardened Southport side in one of the Lions’ strongest VFL performances to date.
Joyce led from the front, gathering 25 touches and a goal in the 15-point loss to the Sharks.
Ellis-Yolmen and Berry also got their fair share of the ball through the midfield, both putting away 23 touches and a goal each to see the Lions within striking distance of the Sharks for much of the match.
The 15-point loss was the Lions’ smallest losing margin to Southport this season, after having lost by more than 100 points in their last two meetings during the VFL home and away season.
VFL Head Coach Mitch Hahn said that he was really pleased with the energy and effort the team brought to Sunday’s practice match.
“Our energy around the contest on Sunday was outstanding,” Hahn said.
“We haven’t had that kind of result against such a mature and experienced side like Southport this season.
“Our midfield really stepped up on Sunday, Tom Joyce, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, and Dev Robertson all had really strong games and got plenty of touches, and James Madden and Jack Payne down the back had solid games as well.
“And then effort from the guys like Connor Ballenden, Tom Berry and Payne who travelled with the extended squad on the weekend and then spend two and a half hours on the plane before driving the Coast and playing our game was also really fantastic.
“We haven’t had a game in quite a few weeks, so our boys were very hungry and keen to go hard from the first siren.
“We’ve only played 10 games this season VFL season, so any extra games we can get are really seen around the club as a learning opportunity and a chance to improve.”
In a reduced minutes game, Blake Coleman also put together one of his strongest performances to date in his first time as Captain this season.
Kicking two goals and a behind off 14 touches, the Academy product showed the coaching staff that there is still much more to come from the young forward.