Taylor embraces the green, green grass of home

BRISBANE Lions rising star Lewis Taylor believes a late season visit home to Mortlake will provide the platform for him to finish his AFL debut season strongly.

Brisbane Lions rookie Lewis Taylor relaxes in the lush surrounds of Mortlake. 140716LP02 Pictures: LEANNE PICKETT

Brisbane Lions rookie Lewis Taylor relaxes in the lush surrounds of Mortlake. 140716LP02 Pictures: LEANNE PICKETT

Taylor, 19, returned to the south-west on Monday night and trained with his former Hampden league club Terang Mortlake on Tuesday.

Brisbane has the bye this weekend as part of the split round 18 fixture.

The Lions opted to give their first and second-year players, many of whom have become regular senior players under new coach Justin Leppitsch, a week off to refresh before the final six games of the home-and-away season. 

Taylor, considered a draft steal after the Lions swooped with pick 28 last November, has played all 16 games to date, averaging almost 16 disposals. 

The round nine rising star nominee has settled in to the Queensland lifestyle but said he was grateful for a chance to spend a week at home with his dad Simon and brother Toby.

“I suppose the break has come at the right time for me,” Taylor said.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to play every game and I was due for a rest soon.

“I will rest up this week and really attack the last six games and we’ll try and get a couple of wins.”

Taylor was a surprise round one debutant following a delayed start to his first pre-season after foot surgery in August last year. He has since established himself in the Lions’ line-up, playing through the midfield and as a creative small forward.

The former Vic Country captain, who collected a career-high 23 touches in Brisbane’s shock round 15 win against finals-bound North Melbourne, said playing every game in his first season would be a dream result. 

“I want to play the last six games to finish the season off well and play good, consistent footy,” he said. “It’s definitely a young group and Leppa knows that and is keen to get games into the group and young players and fast-track our experience.

“It’s good to get thrown in the deep end.”

Taylor, one of four south-west players drafted into the AFL last season,  said the workload at the top level was the biggest learning curve.

“You are flat out all the time: training, weights and meetings,” he said.

“When you’re at the club it’s all go, but on the other side the down time is good.”

Taylor said he appreciated the games he played with fellow south-west export Jonathan Brown in Lions’ colours before he retired last month after 256 games and three premierships. 

“It was awesome. I think I got to play eight games with him and to play those games with him was unreal,” Taylor said.

“I was very lucky in a way. He’s a champion of the game and he is doing work around the club now with the forwards and the big key forwards.”

Taylor will watch Terang Mortlake against reigning premier Warrnambool at Reid Oval on Saturday before flying back to Brisbane on Sunday.

He said he enjoyed training with his home club on Tuesday night: “Training was at Mortlake which was handy as well.”

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