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New challenge beckons for NEAFL team

NEAFL Wrap: Preliminary Final Development coach Zane Littlejohn wraps up the semi final win against the Syndey Swans.

The Lions NEAFL team will be restricted in their selection options for the Grand Final this Sunday against the Southport Sharks, after they triumphed over the Sydney Swans in the Preliminary Final last weekend.

Development Coach Zane Littlejohn was pleased with the team’s form heading into the decider.

“You want to play well going into a Grand Final. It’s probably the first time in a long time that we’ve played four really consistent quarters in challenging conditions,” he said.

“It gives us some really good momentum moving into Southport this week.”

As a State League team, the Southport Sharks will host the Grand Final as per the NEAFL bylaws.

“We understand this week’s going to be a real challenge. They’re the reigning Premiers and probably go into the week favourites in a way.” 

The Lions can only select a maximum 16 AFL listed players for the biggest game on the NEAFL calendar, posing a difficult challenge for the NEAFL coaching staff.

“We’re limited with who we can play, but that’s the nature of the business and we understand the rules” Littlejohn said.

“The guys who will miss out will support the 16 listed.

“There’s a really good brotherhood throughout the group.”

19-year-old Kidean Coleman, who was recently selected in the NEAFL Team of the Year, is one of the Lions Academy players who is likely to play in the Grand Final this Sunday.

“He’s been really consistent for us all year. Whether it’s forward, back, even up on a wing at times. His versatility would be really valuable for us on the weekend,” Littlejohn said.

“It’s exciting to see our Academy boys get an opportunity.”

A NEAFL player will be called up to the Lions Senior side after wingman Mitch Robinson was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

“Fages and the Senior Coaches and match committee will have some headaches,” Littlejohn said.

“They’ve got some really good guys in form available to play.”

The NEAFL Grand Final will be played on Sunday the 15th September at 1 pm.

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