NO pre-season games, no worries.
Brisbane Lions recruit Lewis Taylor didn’t feature in their NAB Challenge matches but the Terang Mortlake export has credited his commitment to training for his surprise round one call-up.
Taylor, 19, collected 19 disposals in his second AFL game on Sunday against Geelong at the Gabba.
It was his first full game following a three-possession effort on debut as the sub in round one against reigning premier Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium.
“I suppose it comes down to work ethic,” Taylor said.
“I have been training hard and the coaches noticed it and I am sticking to structures and was trying to learn the game plan as quick as I could.”
Taylor said it was important he took this year step-by-step.
“Obviously you want to try and stay in the team but they (the coaches) are not expecting anything too special,” he said.
“They say ‘stick to your role, do the team things and train hard and it will get you a long way’.”
Taylor landed at the Lions via pick 28 in last year’s national draft.
The former Vic Country under 18 captain was immediately lauded as the steal of the draft after many experts had tipped the zippy midfielder-cum-forward to go in the first round.
Taylor’s 2013 season ended abruptly in August when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot, thwarting his dream of playing TAC Cup finals with Geelong Falcons.
The injury stalled his pre-season training but Taylor said it was now “100 per cent”.
“I wasn’t training with the full group at the start but I was doing bike sessions, boxing and swimming sessions, trying to keep my fitness up,” he said.
“But I’ve been training with them for a couple of months now.”
Taylor came on in the third term in the Lions’ loss to the Hawks, kicking a behind with his first disposal in league football.
“You train and play your whole life to get to the moment where you play your first AFL game so it was a good achievement for me, and my dad and brother were very excited too,” he said.
“It was a great experience. They are a great team and have been for a long time.”
Taylor said he was surprised to hold on to his spot for Brisbane’s round two clash.
“I wasn’t confident at all,” he said.
“We have a lot of people who can come into the team and I had to train well and work on the things I needed to work on and see if I’d get another game, which I did and I played the whole game.
“The big thing for me is sticking to my role.
“The half-forward role is a big role in our team.”
Taylor, whose father Shane and brother Toby have watched his first two AFL games live, said he was enjoying the Queensland lifestyle and being an AFL player. “It’s hard not to enjoy it, to tell the truth,” he said.
“There is a good feeling up here and good coaching staff and it’s a good city.
“It’s not overly busy and is easy to get around.”
South Warrnambool trio Jonathan Brown, Matt Maguire and Brent Moloney are among Taylor’s new teammates.
The former Bloods standout said it was comforting to have other south-west Victorian players on the Lions’ list.
“We have a bit of a laugh about things we know about home,” Taylor said.
“They’re all good country blokes as well.”
Brisbane will search for its first win of the season against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.