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Young Lion Lewis Taylor earns Rising Star nod

Taylor a Lion on the rise Watch Lewis Taylor's highlights from round nine against North
Lewis Taylor of the Lions in action during the 2014 AFL round 03 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast on April 05, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Lewis Taylor has made an instant impact on a young Lions team in 2014
They're pretty keen to bleed as many games as they can into us and fast-track our experience which is good
Lewis Taylor
THE BRISBANE Lions have salvaged at least one positive from the wreckage of their 87-point loss to North Melbourne after Lewis Taylor received the round nine NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

Taylor, in just his ninth AFL game, gathered 20 touches, took eight marks and laid three tackles in another encouraging display.

After sliding down to pick No.28 in something of a surprise at last year's NAB AFL Draft, the 19-year-old has quickly shown he's a ready-made AFL footballer.

The Geelong Falcons product is averaging 14 touches, three marks and two tackles this season.

It's been an impressive start to what should be a long career for last year's Vic Country under-18 captain, who admitted playing every game so far was above his expectations.

But a raft of injuries to senior players has handed opportunities to the Lions' youngsters and the new breed is giving hope to supporters, even though the club and players accept it will be a bumpy road ahead.

"Having a young group the coaches are going to expect us to be up and down, I suppose that comes with maturity and experience," Taylor told AFL.com.au.

"They're pretty keen to bleed as many games as they can into us and fast-track our experience which is good.

"We don't use that as an excuse, we go out there and give it our all. 

"(Coach Justin Leppitsch) is always happy for us to take the game on. He's going to expect mistakes ... that just happens but he's happy for us to take the game on and have a crack."

In most games this season, the Lions have 'had a crack', but there's no doubt the bye has come at a good time.

"Yeah, the bye will be good, probably more mentally than physically at the moment for me," Taylor said.

"You're in at the club every day training, looking at vision – it's obviously different to TAC (Cup) where you're in there two times a week and you're in at the club four to five times a week.

"I might go fishing for a couple of days, just fishing and taking it easy.

"It will be good to switch off for the four days and come back against Carlton and hopefully have a win."

The time off is a chance for Taylor to take a deep breath and reassess his goals since being drafted.

"The first thing on my mind wasn't playing games, it was probably getting up there, working hard and training hard and trying to get the respect of the group," Taylor said.

"Playing round one I was pretty excited, I would've liked to play a few games – that was the goal – but to play every one so far has been good.

"If I can play my role for the team and keep giving 100 per cent every week hopefully I can stay in the team."

Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said Taylor had a bright future. 
 
"You can always count on Lewy to have a red-hot crack. He’s a self-motivator and his enthusiasm is infectious," Leppitsch said.
 
"To be able to slot straight into senior footy in his first season on an AFL list a testament to the hard-work and effort Lewy has put in since arriving at the club.
 
“He has put together some consistent performances over the last couple of weeks and it is exciting for our fans to be able to follow the development of Lewy over the next few years.”

Taylor becomes the Lions’ second Rising Star nominee this season after James Aish received the award in round six.

Junior club – Terang Mortlake Football Netball Club
TAC club – Geelong Falcons