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The Brisbane Lions Academy started in 2010 with a bag of footballs and a laptop. In the years since it has morphed into a talent factory, producing some of the AFL and AFLW’s most exciting talent.

The Academy was formed when the AFL partnered with four Northern Market AFL Clubs to introduce academies in Queensland, New South Wales and ACT.

The program was designed to provide the Brisbane Lions an opportunity to produce and retain high end talent, which would then help long term on-field success for the football Club. It would also help grow the game of AFL in Queensland and create an active connection to the communities within the Lions zone. 

For players in Queensland, it provided a clear, compelling pathway from footy to potentially being drafted onto the Lions list. It also gave them elite training and access to highly qualified coaches, wellbeing, conditioning and medical staff, as well as AFL standard facilities.


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Lions Legacy stands as the central pillar of the fundraising philosophy, as it encompasses the Past, Present, and Future of the club. By prioritising fundraising for Lions Legacy, the Brisbane Lions can ensure long-term success even in a challenging market and provide greater opportunities for all participants involved.


  • Scott Pyle Head of Academy

  • Bill Renner 2 IC

  • Paul Henriksen Head of Development

  • Emma Zielke Head Coach (Female Programs)

  • Mitch Hahn Head Coach (Male Programs)

  • Grant Birchall Development Coach (PT)

  • Belle Dawes Development Coach (PT)

  • Brandon Wellington S&C Coordinator

  • Natalie Grider S&C Coordinator

  • Leon Harris Recruiter

  • Dayne Frew Regional Manager, Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay

  • Stephen Wearne Regional Manager, Brisbane South-Darling Downs

Current Academy Graduates on the Lions AFL & AFLW Lists

Graduating Years

Year Player
2013 Jordan Bourke, Isaac Conway, Jono Freeman
2014 Archie Smith, Harris Andrews, Liam Dawson
2015 Eric Hipwood, Ben Keays, Matt Hammelmann
2016 Jacob Allison, Rueben William, Josh Wagner
2017 Connor Ballenden, Jack Payne, Sophie Conway, Gabby Collingwood
2018 Connor McFadyen, Jesse Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Nat Grider, Jacqui Yorston
2019 Tom Fullarton, Lily Postlethwaite, Belle Dawes, Tahlia Hickie, Kidean Coleman
2020 Zimmorlei Farquharson, Blake Coleman, Carter Michael  
2021 Mikayla Pauga, Bella Smith, Luka Yoshida-Martin, Maggie Harmer
2022 Ella Smith, Charlie Mullins, Ava Seton, Kiara Hillier

Other Draftees

2015 Wylie Buzza (Geelong), Corey Wagner (North Melbourne)
2016 Elliot Himmelberg (Adelaide), Declan Watson (North Melbourne), Mabior Chol (Richmond)
2019 Will Martyn (Richmond), Noah Cumberland (Richmond), Tarni White (St Kilda)
2020 Samson Ryan (Richmond)

Contact Us

 Phone  07 3335 1777

Academy Partners