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U18s: 'Unique talent' lifts Tassie to win over Lions

Zac Buechner kicked four goals for Tasmania in the Under-18 Academy Series - ${keywords}
Zac Buechner kicked four goals for Tasmania in the Under-18 Academy Series

"UNIQUE" forward talent Zac Buechner has continued his impressive form in the NAB AFL Under-18 Academy Series, bagging four goals to pilot Tasmania to a 24-point win over the Brisbane Lions Academy. 

Buechner followed up two previous three-goal efforts with a standout performance on Saturday as Tasmania proved too clean and composed in posting a 15.12 (102) to 11.12 (78) victory at Redlands.

The game – which had been rescheduled because of Cyclone Debbie – also showcased the skills of fellow Tasmanian forward Hugh Dixon and Lions defender Jack Payne. 

Allies coach Adrian Fletcher, who kept a close eye on proceedings, said Buechner, Dixon and Payne had each shown "they've got AFL attributes". 

Fletcher was particularly taken with the efforts of Buechner, the athletic 19-year-old from Clarence who stands 192cms and 90kgs.

"Buechner is a bit unique," Fletcher said. 

"He's difficult to describe. He's not a key forward, he's a roaming forward, and he's a hard match-up.

"He's got some really impressive traits – really good speed, a strong body and he's a sharpshooter."

Mariners teammate Dixon, a key forward from the Kingborough Tigers, also showed his mettle by having a hand in several goals and beating AFL Academy player Connor Ballenden early with his agility, ground-level work and sticky hands on the lead.

Lions key defender Payne was classy and clean with his skills, delivering the ball particularly well by foot and showing great poise under pressure. 

Tasmania was also served well by speedy little man Harrison Pearce, another 19-year-old, who kicked three goals – a strong return given his 2016 season was derailed by a broken leg. 

The Mariners' slick movement out of stoppages was a feature of their win with runners like skipper Lachlan Clifford, Ryan Tyrell and Brady Rees having a big impact, while Thomas Donnelly was prominent in defence.

Aside from Payne, the Lions had few strong performers, however swingman Ben Sloan became lively when moved from defence to attack, taking some strong marks and kicking a goal.

AFL Academy squad member Jack Clayton again displayed his versatility, starting at half-back and kicking two goals when swung into the midfield after halftime. 

TASMANIA                             15.12 (102) 

Brisbane Lions Academy: Clayton 2, Lambert 2, Hausfield 2, Tomkinson, Franks, Sloan, Ballenden, Gordon
Tasmania: Buechner 4, Pearce 3, Jackson 2, Tyrell 2, Gunther 2, Rubock, Baker 

Brisbane Lions Academy: Payne, Ballenden, Sloan, Tomkinson
Tasmania: Tyrell, Hinds, Baker, Norton, Jackson, Buechner