Throughout September, lions.com.au will be reviewing the seasons of all members of our current playing group. Today we look at the year that was for Lewy Taylor, Sam Mayes and Zac Bailey.
#28 - Lewy Taylor
It was another consistent year in 2018 for livewire small forward Lewy Taylor.
For the fourth time in his five-year career at the Lions, Taylor played in all 22 matches.
Taylor has missed just three games since his debut in Round 1, 2014, and reached his 100-game milestone for the Club in Round 16 against Carlton.
It was a successful day for Taylor and the Lions as they romped to a 65-point victory over the Blues in front of a raucous crowd at the Gabba.
His best matches for the season came against Collingwood in Round 7 when he kicked four goals, and against Fremantle in Round 15 when he chipped in with three goals and collected 17 disposals.
He kicked 21 goals for the season which was a career-high, whilst also averaging 18 disposals, two tackles and 4.5 marks per game.
Coaches Comment – Jed Adcock, Forwards Coach
“Another consistent year from him. Played a bit closer to goal as a smaller forward and developed his game nicely. Kicked another 20 goals which helped the team a lot.”
Senior matches: 22
#32 - Sam Mayes
Sam Mayes had an exceptional 2017 season and finished fifth overall in the 2017 Merrett Murray Medal count but struggled to recapture his best form in 2018.
The running defender started the season off in the Senior side and performed well with 19 disposals against St Kilda in Round 1.
After a quiet performance in the blowout loss to Richmond in Round 4, Mayes was moved back to the NEAFL.
Senior Coach Chris Fagan wanted more from Mayes, especially in the contested area of his game.
"Fages was pretty clear on the areas I needed to work on," Mayes said at the time.
"It's disappointing to start with but if you dwell on it rather than get working on those areas, you're probably going to find yourself there [in the NEAFL] for a lot longer than you hope to."
In going back to the NEAFL, this meant he was stuck on 99 career games for a good couple of months until he was recalled to reach his 100-game milestone for Round 12’s match against Essendon.
Mayes performed well in the match and again two weeks later against the Giants, but that was to be his last Senior appearance of the year.
In his six Senior matches, he averaged 16 disposals, four marks and 1.5 tackles a game.
While in the NEAFL, Mayes impressed with his leadership and experience. In 13 matches he averaged 23 disposals, eight marks and 3.5 tackles a game.
Senior matches: 6, NEAFL matches: 13
#33 - Zac Bailey
Zac Bailey came to the Lions at Pick No. 15 in the 2017 AFL Draft.
A speedy and skilful midfielder, Bailey grew up in the Northern Territory before plying his trade in the SANFL for Norwood.
While he was far from a finished product when he arrived at the Lions, an impressive pre-season and a couple of great NEAFL performances saw Bailey rewarded with selection in the Senior side for Round 4.
His debut wasn’t exactly what childhood footy dreams are made of, being on the receiving end of a flogging by Richmond on an awful day at the MCG.
Bailey went on to play nine more Senior matches in a row and kicked his first goal against the Suns in Round 5. He split his time between the forward line and midfield and impressed the coaches with his pressure and confidence to take the game on.
A small mid-season slump saw Bailey moved back to the NEAFL after Round 14.
In a great sign for a first-year player, Bailey worked on his game and returned to the Senior side for the last two matches of the season.
His best performance came in Round 23 against West Coast when he played as a running defender and finished with 20 disposals and two goals. Compared to the start of the season, his decision making and composure under pressure had improved dramatically.
The future is very bright for Bailey and with another pre-season of development and a more mature body he can be a real weapon for the Lions in the future.
He extended his contract with the Lions midway through the season for a further two years, keeping him at the Club until the end of 2021.
Coaches Comment – Dale Tapping, Midfield Coach
“Developed well over the year. Had a really good game against West Coast in the last round. Has a great combination of toughness and speed with good lateral movement. Will be a great player in the future.”
Senior matches: 12, NEAFL matches: 6