Brisbane remains firmly entrenched in the premiership window, but there are some ageing stars and a relative lack of depth in some areas that can be addressed in the 2021 AFL Draft.
Melbourne showed in 2021 you can win it all with youngsters including Trent Rivers and Jake Bowey playing crucial roles, and the Lions should be looking at prospects that can play a role in their first year.
There’s a spot for the taking between Daniel Rich and Brandon Starcevich in defence. Keidean Coleman has offered flashes of potential in the back half, but it’s an area that can use reinforcement with Rich turning 32 next season.
A ruckman to develop alongside mid-season pickup Kalin Lane would be ideal for the Lions, while injuries showed weakness in key forward stocks last season with that an area to potentially address at the draft.
With some thin stocks in a couple of positions, it remains that the Lions can afford to go best available with their selections and are in prime position to boost their young talent.
2021 AFL Draft: Can Brisbane find a plug-and-play prospect?
Brisbane draft selections: 14, 18, 41, 60, 76, 90
The Lions have a brilliant hand with two first-rounders. There are options for them to pursue a higher selection, with the Dockers holding two top-10 selections and the Tigers holding picks 7, 15, 26, 27 and 28. A package of 14 and 18 could get a late top-10 selection, but Lions recruiters will be excited by the talent towards the end of round one.
With a half-back needed for the future, Josh Sinn would be the ideal pickup. The Sandringham Dragons star was touted as a top-five selection at the start of the year but lockdowns and injuries have curtailed his draft year. In the mould of a Jack Crisp, Sinn is a driving force out of the back 50 with his speed and penetrating left boot. He has the scope to move into the midfield as well, but has suitors earlier in the first round.
Darcy Wilmot is another defensive option with his elite lockdown capabilities and aggressive style of play with ball in hand, and fits the mould of the current Lions lineup with his uncompromising attack on the ball and determination. He may be the next best option if Sinn is off the board.
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The Lions regularly draft out of country Victoria, and Tom Brown is a beautiful ball user and would be a composed head in the backline for the Lions to consider beyond Sinn and Wilmot.
With some key position depth needed, Jacob van Rooyen might be the perfect fit. He’s shown his ability as a key defender in the State Championships and looked equally impressive as a forward that uses his physicality and thrives in marking contests.
Van Rooyen’s teammate Jack Williams looms as a later round selection that could set the Lions up nicely for future key forward stocks. He’s a burly contested mark that attacks the football and has shown ability as a secondary ruckman as well.Embed from Getty Images
In that late-first range remains Campbell Chesser, with injury and lockdowns curtailing his impact in 2021. He’s a powerful athlete that has the runs on the board from U16s play, and has demonstrated leadership aspects to boot.
A final option in the late-first area is Josh Goater, who is an unbelievable athlete and could be moulded into anything at the next level. He may not be a plug-and-play type like Sinn, Wilmot or Chesser, but the potential as a midfielder or running defender is enticing.
A ruckman of the future is also a need alongside Lane, and Toby Conway could be the perfect type. The big-man is aggressive in the contest and good aerobically with some neat disposal for his size. Josh Cripps – brother of Carlton’s Patrick – may be the next best option with his physicality and rate of development over the second half of the year.
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