With eight games left in the 2022 Smithy’s VFL home and away season, we take a look at five players who have impressed so far this season. 

Wylie Buzza 

Former Geelong and Port Adelaide recruit Wylie Buzza has wasted no time in finding his footing in the Lions’ VFL side. 

Joining the Club late last year as the Club’s first key VFL signing, Buzza has already made a big impact with his ability to crash packs and bring the ball to ground. 

His best performance so far this season came in the Lions Round 11 decimation of the Northern Bullants where the former Academy product finished with 20 disposals, eight hit-outs, six marks and three goals. 

03:29 Mins
Published on

Wylie Buzza: My best footy is ahead of me

Wylie Buzza still has aspiration to get back on an AFL list and thinks this year is a big opportunity to prove that.

Published on

“We’ve been pretty happy with how Buzza has been going,” VFL Head Coach Mitch Hahn said. 

“His ability to provide a contest and give our crumbers opportunity at ground level has been really good. He brings a lot of energy and personality and for a VFL group, you definitely need guys like that.  

“He’s only been at the Club for six months or so but he’s become a real connector between the development boys and our AFL listed players. He’s embedded in our system and culture, and know the way we want to play.” 

Jimmy Tunstill 

First-year player Tunstill has had a flying start to his career as a Lion, putting together a string of solid performances in the VFL this season so far. 

A competitive and versatile midfielder with high football IQ, Tunstill has brought energy and drive to the Lions reserve side. 

“Jimmy’s been fantastic for us so far this season,” Hahn said. 

“We’ve been able to give him a variety of roles, as an inside-mid, as a forward, and over the last few weeks as a winger.  

“He brings this gut-running and intensity to his game. We’ve seen his ability to get involved and hit the scoreboard, and when you combine that with his toughness and drive to succeed, he’s definitely impressed us so far this season.” 

Kalin Lane 

Kalin Lane has been another consistent improver this season for the Lions VFL side. 

Working in with the midfield group, Lane has built on his game in the ruck each week to become a key component of the Lions’ engine room. 

His rapid development and growth across the past season is something that Hahn credits to Lane’s shift in his preparation. 

“Kalin really made this shift and adjustment towards becoming more of a professional in his preparation and that’s reflected in his performance so far this season,” 

“We’ve seen him use and apply that preparation to his game and he’s bringing this fantastic energy to the group. 

“But what has really impressed us is his ability to follow up, so he might be in the ruck contest but what’s he doing next. We’re looking forward to seeing how he continues to develop that and have more of an impact throughout the rest of the season.” 

Carter Michael 

In his second year the Lions, Carter Michael has taken his game to another level with an increasing focus on his work ethic and professionalism seeing the 20-year-old cement his reputation as a rebounding defender. 

Michael’s marking and booming left foot were on show in the Lions’ Round 12 match against the Northern Bullants where he gathers 26 disposals, 10 marks and five inside 50s. 

“Carter has really stepped up his professionalism this season and we’re seeing him reap the rewards of that additional preparation. 

“Whether it’s his work in the gym improving his contest work, his ability to get the ball and carry off half back or his drive to get across to his fellow defender and assist them, we’ve been impressed by his season so far and are looking forward to seeing what he can do in the remainder of the home and away season.” 

Tom Berry 

A linchpin in the Lions VFL midfield alongside Rhys Mathieson, the impact of Tom Berry this VFL season cannot be understated.  

An attacking midfielder who knows how to put the pressure on his opponents, the younger Berry brother has played a critical role in the Lions midfield this season. 

Averaging 25 disposals and 5 tackles per game, Berry’s best performance came in the Lions Round 12 clash against Frankston where he gathered 28 disposals 11 tackles, seven clearances, three marks, two goals and two behinds. 

“Tom has been a real leader in the side this season,” Hahn said. 

“His contributions to meetings, his drive to push the standards and make his own teammates better have made him a key player on and off field for us. 

“He does so many things right; his energy, his attack on the contest, his tackle pressure, the outside speed and hitting the scoreboard.  

“It’s the finishing touches now that we’re working on with Tom to take him game to the next level and making sure that he’s doing those things consistently to finish off his good work.”