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U18s: Forward fires as Lions Academy downs NT

Dinny Navaratnam  April 8, 2017 9:37 PM

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KEY FORWARD Billy Drake kicked three goals for the Brisbane Lions Academy in their 50-point win against Northern Territory at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday. 

Drake played deep forward and kicked two early goals as the Lions jumped out to an early lead.

Tall backman Jack Payne impressed once again in defence. In typical fashion, he didn't lose a contest all day and Payne's improvement at intercepting the ball and offering counter-attack from the back half was a highlight of his effort against Northern Territory.

Billy Johnson booted three goals across half-forward. His football smarts and strong body were a tough challenge for Northern Territory, and his ability to keep his feet and make the most of his opportunities allowed him to hit the scoreboard.

Exciting Lions prospect Jack Clayton should be back within three weeks as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

The encounter against the Lions was made harder without NT’s best player Zac Bailey, who had school commitments in South Australia.

Northern Territory is well stocked for 17-year-olds who will come into their own in 2018.

Beau Schwarze slotted four goals in yet another promising game. The medium forward rarely fumbles and knows where the goals are.

Big man Marcus Valastro spent most of his time up forward but also helped out in the ruck. It was yet another solid performance from Valastro, and he kept presenting all day.

Midfielder Matthew Green showed his versatility to play inside and outside the contest, with his running and ball use making him an impressive prospect.

NORTHERN TERRITORY                8.6 (54)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY        16.8 (104) 

GOALS
Northern Territory: Schwarze 4, Mu, Hutt, Bricknell, Althouse-Cooper
Brisbane Lions Academy: Drake 3, Johnson 3, Fletcher 2, Kristelly, Aston, Stackelberg, Coleman, Lambert, Fleming, Franks, Warren 

BEST
Northern Territory: Valastro, Schwarze, Holt-Fitz, Green, Bull, Hutt
Brisbane Lions Academy: Matthews, Franks, Johnson, Payne, Tomkinson