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U18: Sun Dawson impresses in loss to Lions

Connor Ballenden (right) was quiet in the first game of the Under-18 Academy Series - ${keywords}
Connor Ballenden (right) was quiet in the first game of the Under-18 Academy Series

A STANDOUT performance from Gold Coast Academy midfielder Jacob Dawson was not enough as his side fell seven points short of the Brisbane Lions Academy at Southport on Saturday.

In the first game of the revamped Under-18 Academy Series, both sides attacked the ball ferociously in wet conditions with Dawson dominating from the outset to finish with 34 disposals, 13 clearances and 11 tackles.

The 181cm onballer not only showed his ability to win the ball in the contest but also impressed with his cleanness.

Highly rated Lions key forward Connor Ballenden appeared to injure a calf in the third quarter and was forced off the ground.

Ballenden is one of the brightest prospects in this year's draft crop. At 198cm, his size makes him an imposing figure, although versus the Suns he did not impose himself on the game as much he could.

He finished with nine disposals, three marks and didn't hit the scoreboard on a tough day for big men.

At the other end of the ground, Lions defender Jack Payne dominated and did not lose a contest all day. The 193cm backman won it back for his team and helped drive the ball out of defence, with six rebound-50s to go with 18 disposals.

Bailey Scott, the son of former Roo and Cat Robert, played in the midfield and forward line for the Suns and showed clean skills in his 19 disposals, five clearances, four inside-50s and a goal.

As a bottom-age player, he is not eligible for this year's draft. Next year though, North Melbourne, Geelong and Gold Coast will all be able to bid for him.

His teammate Mitch Olarenshaw, the nephew of 1993 premiership Bomber Ricky, notched up 15 disposals.

Another Sun to catch the eye of recruiters was Timakoi Bowie. The small forward worked up the ground and made the Lions panic with his defensive pressure.

The 179cm crumber made things happen when he had the ball and looked dangerous but will need to improve his fitness.

GOLD COAST ACADEMY                 0.3       0.5       4.6       4.7 (31)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY          2.0       3.4       4.5       5.8 (38)

Gold Coast Academy: Scott, Bowie, Beaman, Baru
Brisbane Lions Academy: Warren 2, Hausfeld, Franks, Ivers

Gold Coast Academy: Dawson, Stone, Foster, Bowie, Scott, Olarenshaw
Brisbane Lions Academy: Payne, Warren, Sloan, Johnson, Stackelberg, Haines