The Brisbane Lions have invested in their youth by extending the contracts of Connor Ballenden, Tom Joyce and James Madden.

The trio are integral players in the NEAFL’s undefeated side and all are chasing their dream to make their AFL debut.

All have extended their contracts with the Club until at least the end of the 2021 season.

Ballenden, an Hyundai Help for Kids Academy graduate is in his second year at the Lions after being drafted with Pick No. 43 at the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

The 20-year-old stands at 200cm and is known for his accurate boot. This year in the NEAFL he has been playing as a key defender after primarily playing forward in his junior career. 

The Brisbane local said he was excited to be part of the Club’s future.

“The positivity and growth as a whole playing group is very encouraging and something I am really enjoying,” he said.

Joyce, recruited by the Club at last year’s draft with Pick No. 40, has extended his contract for an extra year, until 2021. The 19-year-old is a tough, inside midfielder.

“I’ve loved my time at the Club so far and I am extremely excited to have signed on,” Joyce said.

Madden hails from Dublin, Ireland and is also in his first year at the Lions as a Category B rookie.

“I’m delighted to sign on,” Madden said.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time so far at the Club and I can’t wait to see what the next couple of years hold.” 

General Manager of Football David Noble said all three had shown a desire to improve their game and are determined to play senior football soon.

“As a key position player coming out of our Lions Academy, Connor’s growth as a forward and defender has really caught our eye.

“His versatility will be an asset for him as he continues to evolve his game within the structure of how we play.

“James has demonstrated his talent through his consistent form in the NEAFL and his dedication to learning and improving his AFL knowledge has been outstanding,” he said.

“He is a quietly driven young man who has a thirst to succeed. 

“We have loved Tom’s improvement since he has been with us, where he has worked hard on his physical growth for AFL footy.

“His skills at the stoppage contest are very good where he has shown strong form at NEAFL level.

“Tom is an exciting midfielder who is willing to put in the hard work to get the best out of himself.”