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AS THE Brisbane Lions continue to have retention issues with their young talent, their recruiters would have been pleased with the enthusiasm Josh Schache has shown about being drafted by the club.
Schache is a Victorian key forward who has had a standout season. He won the Larke Medal after a brilliant NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, and was seen as a contender for the No.1 pick.
He looks likely to be taken just after that. The Lions loom as Schache's destination with pick No.2, and he would be pleased with that outcome.
His father, Laurence Schache, played 29 games for the Brisbane Bears in 1991-92 and in his first season led the club's goalkicking, booting 47 in 17 games.
After leaving the Lions at the end of 1992, Schache played in the SANFL for Woodville-West Torrens. But in 2002, aged 34, he collapsed and died with cardio amyloidosis, a rare heart disease.
Josh was five years old at the time and remembers the tragedy unfolding. He sees the romance in heading to the Lions via this year's draft and finishing off what Laurence started at the club.
How much value do you place on goals? Because Schache is the forward who amassed more shots at goal than anyone in the draft. He was a regular goalkicker this year, including a record haul of 24 in the under-18 carnival and 34 in seven games at TAC Cup level.
His accuracy in set shots is also terrific, with some recruiters believing the left-footer has the best kicking technique of any draftee who has come through the system in recent years.
At 199cm, Schache has top-end endurance for a player his size (he runs a 14.1 beep test) and he works over opponents. Schache will also likely be called upon to play as a pinch-hitting ruckman in the AFL, a role he took on at stages during the season.
He marks well above his head, added a harder-edge to his craft this season and has dominated plenty of games. He will be a deserving early selection.
At the moment Schache gets most of his shots at goal on the lead or through sheer work ethic by outrunning his opponent. This is a good trait to have, but he'll have to continue to build up his frame at the next level so he can also be stronger in one-on-one contests. Across the past 18 months he has certainly improved his facet of his play.
Schache has been likened to Collingwood star Travis Cloke for his ability to use his aerobic base to work up and down the ground. He is a better kick for goal than the erratic Magpie, but could become a similar type of forward.
Schache will head to Adelaide for November's draft with a fair degree of confidence he knows where he's going. It would be a surprise if he's not in the top-two and didn't go to the Lions as the second player picked on the night.
Goalkickers don't come along often, especially when they're as tall, athletic and prolific as Schache at underage level. Schache only needs a handful of opportunities to make his presence felt on a game. His all-round forward craft is better than anyone in the draft and he has all the tools to be a powerful key forward.