BRISBANE father-son prospects Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher will both spend time training with the Lions this summer, as they look to continue pressing their cases to join the club at the end of next season.
Ashcroft, the son of 318-game triple-premiership great Marcus, is seen as a genuine pick No.1 contender ahead of the 2022 NAB AFL Draft after emerging as one of the best junior talents in the country.
He won 33 disposals, 12 clearances and kicked two goals in a standout display for Vic Metro's under-17s side earlier this season, with Brisbane avoiding a crosstown battle with Gold Coast for first rights to the youngster.
The Lions will take a closer look at Ashcroft when he joins the team for pre-season training, with the teenager then set to split his time between Queensland and Victoria next year as he looks to earn his place on the club's list.
"That's certainly the plan for Will and Jaspa as well," Brisbane recruiting boss Stephen Conole told AFL.com.au's NAB AFL Draft Night Countdown last week.
"Hopefully those boys can do some of the pre-season. My understanding is that there are still some COVID-19 restrictions for pre-season training. I think the AFL are working through that with clubs now.
"When (football boss) Danny Daly and the boys up north get all of those rulings, I'm sure they'll sit down and get it all organised. But both of those lads will be involved and hopefully we'll see them both play some state-level footy next year."
Brisbane used first-round picks to recruit exciting half-back Darcy Wilmot and mercurial forward Kai Lohmann last week, with Ashcroft's arrival set to strengthen one of the League's best young lists even further in 2022.
However, the Lions are yet to start stockpiling draft points to match bids for Ashcroft and Fletcher and traded out their future third-round selection to the Cats while bringing in a future third-round pick tied to the Power during the exchange window.
That process is instead more likely to occur next season, with Ashcroft – a dynamic and prolific 183cm midfielder – set to become Brisbane's first father-son prospect since Josh Clayton in 2014.
"Like all of the Victorian kids, it's been a pretty tough year for Will … it's been on and off, then on and off," Conole said.
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"He missed his under-17s season and then obviously into this year … but he finished school at Brighton Grammar and he was the best and fairest there, which was a great achievement.
"He'll split his time next year between the Dragons and some Vic Metro and hopefully he gets an opportunity to get up north and play some VFL footy. We won't know that until the fixtures and the practice matches and all of those areas are ticked off.
"He's a talented young player and a diligent worker on his footy. It'll be really exciting to see how he goes next year."
Fletcher's father, Adrian, played 231 games for five clubs – Geelong, St Kilda, the Brisbane Bears, the Brisbane Lions and Fremantle – across his career. However, he is eligible to join Brisbane as his dad only played more than 100 games for the Bears and the Lions.
"He's a genuine hybrid midfielder," Conole said.
"His dad was a super AFL player and I think it's probably fair to say that Jaspa is a little bit more athletic than Adrian was, but he was such a skilful player and had great game IQ.
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"Jaspa hasn't played as much in his junior years, so it will be really interesting to see next year – when he hopefully gets a full year of the talent pathway system – just how much he develops.
"He played some really good footy this year. He played more or less inside for Brisbane's Academy prior to injury. When he went back to QAFL footy, he played the under-19s game on the wing. I think that's where he'll start.
"He's a smart player and a very nice athlete. Hopefully he'll continue to develop and we'll have a really good look at him next year."