TOP BRISBANE Lions draftee Josh Schache is winning rave reviews for a standout first pre-season at AFL level, but this one from captain Tom Rockliff may top them all.
"I don't want to put any pressure on the kid, but he's as good an 18-year-old player as I've ever seen," Rockliff told SEN on Wednesday morning.
Schache, selection No.2 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, booted four goals to star in the club's trial match last in hot and humid conditions in Brisbane last Friday.
Rockliff's comments come as reports circulate the Lions are set to offer the young key forward a new five-year deal before he even plays a game.
"If you had have been up here on Friday and saw our trial match I would've given him a 15-year contract," Rockliff said.
The Lions skipper provided fans with an insight into what makes Schache, who stands at 199cm and 96kg, so special.
"His patterns are unbelievable as a forward," Rockliff said.
"He was doing numbers on Daniel Merrett and Harris Andrews, who was outstanding for us last year.
"I think I've seen him miss one goal – he hit the post on Friday. That's the first set-shot goal I've seen him miss all pre-season, so that says a little bit about his kicking technique.
"He can kick them from outside 50 no worries and his hands are as good I've seen. He's only an 18-year-old but it's going to be so good to watch him when he's 23 or 24."
Rockliff also addressed news the Lions were set to extend coach Justin Leppitsch's contract by one year, until the end of 2017.
"Ideally you'd love it to be longer, but that's not our decision. Our job is to go out there and play and perform to make sure he gets a longer contract," Rockliff said.
"If that's what the club has decided to do – give him a one-year deal – we completely support 'Leppa' 100 per cent and we support any decision the club makes."
Rockliff added draftees Ben Keays (pick No.24) and Rhys Mathieson (No.39) were right in the mix to make early season debuts.