Jack Payne’s time at the Lions has been far from smooth sailing, but in 2019 the emerging defender showed resilience in coming back from frustrating injuries.
Payne has been one of the most promising young defenders since arriving at the Lions in late 2017 but was sidelined for the entire 2018 season with a shin injury, which carried into his pre-season preparation for the following year.
Payne was named in the NEAFL’s Round 2 clash against GWS GIANTS and enjoyed some consistency for the remainder of the season, going on to play 18 matches for the premiership side.
Throughout the year he demonstrated his potential in the backline, with the big-bodied defender confidently spoiling the ball within the 50, laying heavy tackles and even booted an impressive goal in Round 12’s win over Sydney Uni.
He was a chance to make his AFL debut after being named in Senior Coach Chris Fagan’s 26-man squad against Port Adelaide in Round 17. Although Payne did not make the final cut, he travelled with the team.
Payne will be aiming for consistency with his body in 2020 and striving towards a senior berth. In May this year he extended for a further two years, remaining in the Den until at least the end of 2021.
2019 was Connor McFadyen’s first year as a Brisbane Lion but he is no stranger to the Den, having regularly played with the 2018 NEAFL side whilst a member of the Hyundai Help for Kids Lions Academy.
His opening year as a professional footy player started positively. Within months of arriving at the Club, the 18-year-old signed a contract extension which will see him stay until the end of the 2021 season.
McFadyen’s preparation for the 2019 season was interrupted by a foot injury in February, which required surgery. However, the forward was fit in time for the NEAFL’s Round 2 match against GWS GIANTS in April.
He would go on to play 18 NEAFL games and kick 20 goals. One of his best performances was Round 10’s win over the Gold Coast SUNS where he had three goals, 16 disposals, eight marks and three tackles.
McFadyen, like Payne, will be gunning for a senior berth in 2020.