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Lions continue to monitor father-son prospect

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08:  Lachie Harris of the Dragons (R)  celebrate a win with Isaac Morrisby of the Dragons (L) during the round 12 TAC Cup match between Gippsland and Sandringham at Casey Fields on July 8, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)
Lachie Harris (right) has been playing for the Sandringham Dragons

THE BRISBANE Lions will continue to monitor father-son prospect Lachie Harris despite the teenager missing out on Vic Metro selection this year.

The club has first access to the speedy midfielder whose father Leon Harris played 186 games for Fitzroy between 1979-89. 

The 18-year-old hasn't been invited to the national NAB AFL Draft Combine, but has played for the Sandringham Dragons at TAC Cup level and gathered 19 disposals and had seven inside 50s in their last game.

Lions recruiting manager Stephen Conole told AFL.com.au's Road to the Draft podcast Harris had recently spent some time in Brisbane training with the club. 

"He's going well. He's captain at Caulfield Grammar and his father Leon actually does a bit of work for us and has come into our recruiting team this year after a very strong background at AFL Victoria," Conole said. 

"[Lachie] spent a week up at the club in the July holidays and did some training, and he seemed to really enjoy that. He was popular with all the young boys up there so we'll see how it goes for him.

"He's got a lot of footy left to play. He's got two games left with Caulfield and you'd think the Sandringham Dragons have a pretty strong squad so I could imagine they'll force their way to the back end of September yet again." 

The 171cm prospect has genuine pace and recently also played at senior level in the Victorian Amateurs competition with the Caulfield Grammarians side.

The Lions' most recent father-son pick was Josh Clayton, son of Scott, at pick No.86 in 2014.

The Brisbane Lions again look set to be important players early at this year's NAB AFL Draft, currently holding pick No.1, No.14 (tied to Port Adelaide's finishing position) and No.18 (the first pick of the second round).

Connor Ballenden's inconsistent form this season could pose an interesting situation for the club at draft time, with the Lions having first call on the academy product.

The Queenslander started the season viewed by scouts as a contender for the No.1 pick but was moved to defence late in the Allies' under-18 carnival to find form. 

Conole said the 199cm prospect will be keen to hit his straps in the last part of the season.

"He's had a lot to balance and probably that continuity for him has been challenging at times. He's played some good footy and played different roles, but he's another one who would want to come home with some consistency," he said.

"He's got some strong traits to play at the next level and I'm sure he'll progress through."

Ballenden is one of just three Queenslanders who were invited to the national combine in October, alongside defender Jack Payne (also in the Lions' academy) and ruckman Brayden Crossley (Gold Coast academy).