Another footy lesson looms for Brisbane’s Lion cubs in Saturday night’s AFL clash with Sydney at the Gabba.
But Lions ruckman Trent West is backing their youngsters to again emerge from the test with some impressive numbers.
West on Monday dipped his hat to Brisbane’s junior brigade who appeared to come of age in their three-point win over St Kilda on Anzac Day at Wellington, the Lions’ first of the season.
No.7 draft pick James Aish (25 touches, eight marks and a goal) stood tall alongside Nick Robertson (18 disposals) and Lewis Taylor (two goals).
Fellow draftees Darcy Gardiner and Tom Cutler also impressed.
“Those boys have been great, played a role and made an impact on the game which is all you can ask of them,” West said.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch admitted he carried on “like an idiot” in the stands savouring the maiden victory but West said their influential youngsters had kept a level head ahead of another timely litmus test this weekend.
“It is great for the young guys to get that experience. It shows we can compete with the good sides,” West said.
“But we have to be consistent.”
To put the Lions’ inexperience into perspective, on Easter Thursday Brisbane fielded a side with 10 players that had yet to play 25 AFL games.
The only two other clubs that have done that in recent years were expansion teams Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
After some baby steps the Lions’ youngsters are starting to find their feet.
Remarkably Aish, 18, leads the club in total marks and ranks seventh overall in disposals and tackles after six rounds.
But the Lions must lift again against a Sydney side that may just boast the big four of Adam Goodes, Lance Franklin, Sam Reid and Kurt Tippett for the first time.
“They’re a pretty respected team throughout the competition and we’ll have to be on our toes,” West said of Sydney (9th; 3-3 record).
“I don’t think they’ve dropped their guard at all.”