26/02/2024

Will Ashcroft in action for the Lions. (Photo: Supplied)

Will Ashcroft and the Lions bounced back against Melbourne last Friday night. It was a performance that earned the young Lion a rising star nomination, but the 18-year-old isn’t resting on his laurels, as he looks to continue to build across the season and his career.

It was a strong performance from the father-son selection, racking up 31 disposals – the leading disposal count winner for the Lions and second for the match behind Demons star Clayton Oliver.

Speaking to the media earlier in the week, Ashcroft said that there are still some areas in his game that he can improve on while still focusing on his strengths.

“I think it’s important to still revisit your strengths,” Ashcroft said.

“My contested ball is probably where my game sort of stems from and that brings that energy in the contest. So just making sure that I’ve got the technical things right from that standpoint and doing that well.

“Then trying to bring other things into my game. [In the] last two weeks, I haven’t had a mark yet, so looking forward to trying to break the game open and get some more uncontested ball.”

On top of the review that the Lions do, Ashcroft also reviews his own game post-match which is something he’s done with his dad since he was young.

“I always like to dive deep into it [my game], dad’s wired pretty similarly. We like to have conversations about the game ever since I was really young right up until last week,” he said.

“So, I enjoy that I think it gets the best out of me.”

Being a father-son always has its pressures and adding on top of that being a top two draft pick in last year’s draft. But for Ashcroft and his father Marcus, they’ve got the perfect balance between footy and life.

“I think he’s found that good balance between just being in support network and father figure instead of always focusing on the footy stuff, I think there is a good balance there,” Ashcroft said.

“I think he picks his moments and I don’t think it’s necessarily being really hard on my back about it, just having those conversations that sort of lead me in the right direction, which I’m really grateful for.

“We keep in touch regularly try and obviously living away from home now, it’s not always about footy.

“We’ll have a conversation here and there about footy and he was at the game last Friday, so got to spend some time with him over the weekend before the game it was good to have some conversations with him leading into the game and reviewing it after.

“I really enjoy that something I would love to do for a long time. “

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From a team perspective, the expectations as a team are high this season with the team believing that they can go far in season 2023 but after a round one loss to Port Adelaide, Brisbane isn’t looking too far into the future.

“I think we set ourselves based on our preseason that we wanted to achieve big things this year and we know it’s [a] very long season and we’re just going to keep building each week,” Ashcroft said.

“I think [we] potentially looked too far ahead in round one and learnt our lesson a little bit, could bounce back and keen to keep building.”

The Lions take on the Bulldogs in a Thursday night blockbuster but despite the Bulldogs yet to get a win in 2023, Ashcroft said that the Lions know how strong of a team the Bulldogs can be.

“It’s not the ideal start to the season, they wouldn’t have liked to play that way but we know what an outfit they are,” he said.

“For me personally looking from afar the last number of years they’ve always been right at the top and a really good outfit.

“No doubt they’ll be hungry this week, and they’ll bounce back.”

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