As the Brisbane Lions players enjoy a few days rest with the bye this weekend, General Manager of Football David Noble joined the Roar Deal podcast to discuss the season so far.
For the young team, the bye is a welcome break, especially for first-year players Cam Rayner and Zac Bailey who are yet to miss a game since making their debuts in Round 1 and Round 4 respectively.
While hosts Dom Fay and Michael Whiting discussed the relief that they imagined both would feel about time for rest and recovery, Noble disagreed, saying that all players were eager to fast-track their growth with more experience.
“Sometimes it is hard to just fast-track players,” Noble said.
“They need to get game experience, they need to make errors.
“They need to explore how to make a kick or a play work.”
While the ladder doesn’t suggest the Lions have improved so far in 2018, the statistics suggest otherwise Noble said.
“As a collective across the year, our numbers are up.”
“A good indicator of that for our fans is our percentage.”
The Lions sit 14th on the ladder when based on percentage.
“Our percentage factor is in pretty good shape,” Noble said
“In nine of our 11 games, we have been competitive until the very end.
“The growth of our group this year is the fact that we have been in some very high-level games – such as Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Collingwood.”
When talking about the growth amongst the team’s list, it’s hard to look past key defender Harris Andrews.
The 21-year-old has been touted as an All-Australian possibility by many within the AFL and media landscape.
“He has to be at least in the squad and knocking right on the door for the final team,” Whiting suggested.
“You must just be blown away with how he is playing,” Fay added.
Noble suggested that Andrews’ impressive growth in recent weeks has been influenced by the likes of Luke Hodge’s mentoring down back.
“Harris would be the first to say that Hodgey has really helped him in that space,” he said.
“It’s outstanding that he has built that confidence.”
Noble pointed out that at times in recent matches when the team has been heavily under the pump, Andrews has been the calm influence needed for the Lions to remain composed.
“The most impressive thing is that at times when we are under the pump, he stops the ball and rebounds it.”
Also on the Roar Deal, Noble discussed the three-year strategy the list management team continue to develop ahead of the 2018 Draft later this year.
“We’ve started to look at what our list selection strategy will be going forward.”
“We will have another look at another high draft pick and what we will do with that if it comes.
“We would be unlikely to trade it.”
Source: Brisbane Lions website