JOSH Schache has been billed as a saviour of sorts for the battling Brisbane Lions but coach Justin Leppitsch says to not expect too much from the No.2 draft pick in his first season.
After years of battling to find a sidekick and then a successor for club legend Jonathan Brown, the Lions have drafted Schache after he kicked a record 24 goals in four games at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, to go with 34 in seven TAC Cup games.
But Leppitsch says the 199cm key forward will be eased into the senior team in 2016.
"Two years ago I would have said Schache would have had to play 22 games as Lewy Taylor did and Darcy (Gardiner) and guys like Dan McStay, we threw them to the wolves a little bit," Leppitsch said.
"But our list is at the point where we won't have to do that as much with this current crop, which is a good thing.
"We can bring them in a bit more when they're ready."
Leppitsch presented Schache with the No.23 jumper following training – the same number his father Laurence wore in his 29 games for the Brisbane Bears in 1991-92.
Coincidentally, Leppitsch also wore the No.23, and reinforced the old notion that key position players take longer to develop.
"We have to be patient with young keys," he said.
"The No.1 pick last year (Paddy McCartin) is a key forward and was hardly sighted last season, so we can't put too much pressure on our young boys.
"We definitely needed some key forwards. I've been complaining all year that we needed some key forwards, so if we didn't pick up one or two in the draft I would have looked like a bit of an idiot."
Entering his third season as the Lions coach, Leppitsch said the massive list turnover in his time would now come to a halt.
Just 15 players remain who played in 2013.
"We've had heavy trade, heavy draft the last three off-seasons, and you look into our list now and it's not required," Leppitsch said.
"From this point, our list requires a bit of tinkering and that's it.
"The bulk of the moves have been made and we're really happy and hopefully the maturity of the group will grow and grow and we'll get better every season."
The remainder of the Lions' new draftees have also been allocated their numbers. Ben Keays will don No.1, Eric Hipwood will wear No.30, Rhys Mathieson will wear No.36, Sam Skinner will wear No.41 and rookie Reuben William has been allocated No.47.