BRISBANE Lions midfielder Brent Moloney believes new recruit and fellow south-west export Lewis Taylor will stake his claim for an AFL debut this season.
Moloney, one of three South Warrnambool footballers on the Lions’ list, said the Terang Mortlake teenager was “definitely a chance” to play senior football in his first season at the club.
Taylor, 18, landed at Brisbane via pick 28 in November’s national draft, joining south-west trio Moloney, Jonathan Brown and Matt Maguire at the Lions.
Moloney said Taylor, an energetic small midfielder-cum-forward, had “really impressed” him.
“He’s coming off a foot injury so they’ve held him back a little bit but he works hard so I can’t wait to see him on the track,” he said.
“The first-year players they hold back in their first few months.”
Moloney said it was a positive for the Hampden Football Netball League to have four of its players on the same AFL list.
“I think it is great for the Western District area,” he said.
“People follow the guys throughout their careers. Browny and Goose (Maguire) helped me and Lewy Taylor will be a ripper for us.
“He’s a good kid too.”
Moloney and Maguire have enjoyed strong starts to their pre-season campaigns, while Brown is on modified program as he recovers from a niggling foot injury.
“Browny was flying before Christmas and had a little hiccup,” Moloney said.
“In the next couple of weeks he’ll be back in the group and will start doing match practice.
“I was talking to Goose today and he hasn’t missed a training session.”
Moloney said the injury-prone Maguire looked well-placed for another strong season in defence.
“He is starting to get full pre-seasons — last year and this year again — and it can only help his footy,” he said.
Moloney is entering his second season at Brisbane after stints at Geelong and Melbourne.
The 161-game veteran said he felt at home at the Lions.
“I have settled into the club now and also the city and I feel really comfortable and I am looking forward to a big year,” he said.
“My body feels good and I am really looking forward to starting games.”
Moloney said new coach Justin Leppitsch had been great.
“Every coach is different and each has their philosophies and he (Leppitsch) has brought a new game plan in and the players are learning that,” he said.
“He’s composed when he speaks to the group.”
Leppitsch is Moloney’s sixth full-time AFL coach.
He played under Mark Thompson at Geelong, Neale Daniher, Dean Bailey and Mark Neeld at Melbourne and Michael Voss in his first season at Brisbane.
“I’ve listened to a few voices so hopefully it will help me in the long run,” he said.
Brisbane finished 12th in 2013 — one game out of the finals.
“It does take time to build a team. I think we have a really good squad,” Moloney said.
“We have a strong midfield and the back line — Joel Patfull, Maguire, Daniel Merrett and Jed Adcock — have been together for a while now and if Browny stands up and we get a few games out of him and we find a couple of young players, I think we will be around the mark.”
Brisbane opens its 2014 campaign against reigning premier Hawthorn in Tasmania on March 22.