Lions are looking for fresh talent
WHAT DO Brisbane Lions star Daniel Merrett, promising Gold Coast Suns ruckman Zac Smith, St Kilda defender Sam Gilbert and Western Bulldogs backman Tom Williams have in common?
The answer - they played other sports before switching to Australian rules.
In Merrett's case, he grew up on the Gold Coast and played rugby league, touch footy and volleyball.
Smith was a talented football player before he made a massive growth spurt, Gilbert also played rugby league on the Gold Coast and Williams was a top rugby union prospect.
The Brisbane Lions are on the hunt for more non-Aussie rules youngsters and will hold a talent identification session at the Fishermans Road multi-sports facility between 4pm and 5.30pm on Friday.
Lions academy manager Luke Curran said the club was keen to see as many fit and active boys aged 14-17 at the session.
"They don't necessarily have to be playing competitive sport, but athleticism does help. They also need to be able to sprint between 10 and 40m repeatedly," he said.
"Kicking, catching and passing skills are also useful."
The Lions have 190 youths aged from 12 and 19 in the academy, 35 of them from the Sunshine Coast.
The club has set a target of having 20% of the players on its senior list (presently 48), coming out of the academy by 2016.
"We think the Sunny Coast is a hotbed of talent across the board," Curran said.
"Certainly in 2013 I would expect we'll get a couple of players from up there on our list."