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NEAFL Wrap: Payne returns to NEAFL

NEAFL Wrap: Round 1 NEAFL Coach Mitch Hahn wraps up Round 1 against the NT Thunder.

There's no greater challenge than a trip to the Northern Territory to kick off the 2019 NEAFL Season, but Brisbane Lions NEAFL Coach Mitch Hahn was impressed by his team's ability to embrace the challenge.

The NEAFL side defeated NT Thunder by 65-points in Darwin last Saturday, to mark the Lions' biggest winning margin over the Thunder.

"It was a big challenge to go up there, it's a long flight and difficult conditions but the boys attacked it really well," Hahn said.

Despite wet conditions, the Lions looked controlled with a strong line-up of 18 AFL-listed players. 

Leader Ryan Lester was superb for the Lions, but Hahn noted it was the adaptability of players such as Sam Skinner and Cedric Cox which impressed him most.

"Cedric Cox was moved forward [for Round 1] and played some dangerous footy down there," Hahn said.

Cox kicked three goals and collected 19 disposals for the Lions, while Skinner transitioned well into the forward line.

"Sam Skinner moved from back to forward and had five shots on goal,"

"Those guys were really good for us in the forwardline."

This Saturday will see the long awaited return of Lions youngster Jack Payne.

After being drafted to the Lions in 2017 at Pick No. 54, the key defender was ruled out of the 2018 season due to a persistent shin complaint.

"It's exciting for Jack, he's had a long road in his rehabilitation and coming back," Hahn said.

"We're excited to get him back into the team."

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