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The Hyundai Help for Kids 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 in 2010 when the AFL partnered with four Northern Market AFL Clubs to introduce academies in Queensland and 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. Fans could then endear themselves to the Lions through Academy success stories of home-grown talent.

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.

The growth of the game in Queensland has been overwhelming, with AFLQ recording record participation numbers across the state.

Currently the Lions have the following Academy alumni on their Lions AFL and AFLW lists: Harris Andrews, Sophie Conway, Eric Hipwood, Connor McFadyen, Connor Ballenden, Gabby Collingwood, Nat Grider, Ben Keays, Archie Smith, Tom Fullarton, Jack Payne, Jacob Allison, Jesse Wardlaw and Jade Ellenger.

Academy U18 Boys Games 2020

  Where When
Prac. Match - Lions U18 vs. GC Suns U18, 10:30am Aspley Sat 7th March, 10:30am
Prac. Match - Lions U18 vs. Mt Gravatt QAFL Mt Gravatt Sat 14th March, 3:00pm
AFL NAB League - Lions U18 vs. Tasmania U18 Blacktown International Sports Park, Sydney Sat 28th March, 11:00am
AFL NAB League - Lions U18 vs. GC Suns Academy Southport AFL Club Sat 4th April, 11:00am
Prac. Match - Lions U18 vs. PEGS (Essendon Grammar) Yeronga Thurs 9h April, 1:00pm
AFL NAB League - Lions U18vs. Oakleigh Chargers Shepley Oval, Melbourne Sun 19th April, 1:00pm
AFL NAB League - Lions U18 vs. Western Jets Box Hill City Oval, Melbourne Sat 25th April, 1:00pm
AFL NAB League - Lions U18vs. Calder Cannons South Pine SC, Brendale Sun 10th May, 11:00am
AFL NAB League - Lions U18 vs. Bendigo Pioneers Ikon Park, Melbourne Sat 25th July, 1:00pm

Academy Coaches

  • Josh Hunt Head Coach

  • Craig Starcevich Director of Coaching

  • Luke Curran Academy Manager


  • 44

    Archie Smith Ruck

  • 32

    Harris Andrews Key Defender

  • 30

    Eric Hipwood Key Forward

  • Jacob Allison Midfielder

  • 38

    Connor Ballenden Key Forward

  • 40

    Jack Payne Key Defender

  • Tom Fullarton Key Forward

  • 45

    Connor McFadyen Medium Forward

  • Sophie Conway

  • Gabby Collingwood

  • Jesse Wardlaw

  • Jade Ellenger

  • Lily Postlethwaite

  • Belle Dawes

  • Tahlia Hickie

  • Natalie Grider

Former Academy players on other clubs’ lists:

Former Club Player
Adelaide Elliott Himmelberg, Ben Keays
Geelong Wylie Buzza
Melbourne Corey Wagner
North Melbourne Declan Watson
Richmond Mabior Chol, Will Martyn, Noah Cumberland
Gold Coast Jacqui Yorston 
St. Kilda Tarni White

Former AFL players who came through the Academy:

Lions  Jordon Bourke, Isaac Conway, Liam Dawson, Jono Freeman, Matt Hammelman, Reuben William

Talent ID

The Hyundai Help For Kids Lions Academy aims to identify talented players as young as 12 years of age.

Find Out More



Level 1 = boys aged 12 – 14yrs of age, train 1 session p/w in terms 1  - 3
Level 2 = boys & girls 15 – 16yr of age, train 2 sessions p/w in pre-season & 1 session p/w in-season
Level 3 = boys & girls 17 – 18 yrs of age train 2-5 sessions p/w in pre-season & 1-3 sessions p/w in-season


Darling Downs = University of Southern QLD, Toowoomba, The Fit Lab
Wide Bay = Childers Showgrounds
Sunshine Coast = Maroochydore Multi-Sports Complex, University of Sunshine Coast
Brisbane = Coorparoo, Yeronga Hyundai Centre @ Gabba

Contact Us

 Phone  07 3335 1777

Academy Social media

Follow our Academy Lions on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more behind the scenes action.