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Lions cut five as Fagan reshapes list

AFL 2017 Round 21 - Brisbane v Gold Coast
Michael Close is among five Lions delisted on Thursday

THE BRISBANE Lions' dramatic reshaping under first-year coach Chris Fagan has continued with another five players axed on Thursday. 

Key forward Michael Close, free agent Claye Beams – brother of captain Dayne – Irishman Cian Hanley, forward Matt Hammelmann and rookie Reuben William are the Lions' latest delistings. 

All the retirements and delistings

Close, Beams, Hanley and William played in the club's NEAFL premiership in early September, but Hammelmann missed the Grand Final because of a hamstring injury. 

Rookie defender Matt Eagles, last year's winner of Fox Footy's The Recruit, now looks certain to retain his place after showing stunning improvement in the second half of the season. 

Beams had the most AFL success of the delisted group, playing 54 games since being the 76th pick in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, but only 26 across the past three seasons.

Close made his AFL debut in 2014, when he played a career-high 14 of his 27 matches, but battled injury in his five years with the Lions, who finished last with five wins. 

Hammelmann (12 games, including three this year), William (three) and Hanley (none) were never able to establish themselves in the senior side. 

Lions list manager Dom Ambrogio thanked the players for their contributions. 

"This time of year is always difficult, especially letting five good people go," Ambrogio said.

"We wish them the best in their AFL careers and hope they have another opportunity soon." 

The five join Josh Clayton, Jonathan Freeman, Blake Grewar, Ryan Harwood and Jarrad Jansen in not scoring a 2018 contract, while Josh Schache was traded to the Bulldogs and free agent Tom Rockliff signed with Port Adelaide. 

Established stars Charlie Cameron and Luke Hodge became Lions courtesy of pick swaps in the NAB AFL Trade Period. 

The sweeping changes follow last year's similarly extensive list overhaul, where Josh Green, Jackson Paine, Hugh Beasley, Billy Evans, Josh Watts and Josh McGuinness were cut. 

Retired quartet Justin Clarke, Trent West, Daniel Merrett and Jaden McGrath also came off the Lions' books at the end of 2016, as did Pearce Hanley, who crossed to Gold Coast. 

The Lions have seven picks – 1, 15, 18, 40, 44, 52 and 93 – in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, which is being held in Sydney on November 24. 

"We go in with a really strong hand, with three draft picks in the first round," Ambrogio said. 

"We are confident the selections will help set our club up for future success."