Few No. 28 draft picks can expect to play every game of their rookie AFL season, and receive a Rising Star nomination, let alone pick up an instant cult following.
But Mozzie Squad member, Terang Mortlake’s Lewy Taylor, is living the dream at the Brisbane Lions.
Although the Lions have battled to overcome key injuries and their 2013 exodus, Taylor has made the most of his opportunity to be an ever-present for coach Justin Leppitsch.
The nippy small forward, who captained Vic Country last year, is already a Gabba crowd favourite as he’s averaged 16 disposals per game and kicked 11 goals — including the boundary line sealer against Melbourne on Sunday.
With Dayne Zorko and Josh Green, Taylor is buzzing as part of Brisbane’s Mozzie Squad — last week extending his contract until the end of 2016.
“We just gelled together straight away — me, Zorks and Greeny — and we just like to bring plenty of energy to the club on game day,” the 19-year-old said.
“I’ve been very lucky to play all the games so far.
“I’ve loved the year, I love the club and everyone involved in it so I didn’t see any reason not to re-sign.”
Referring to the trust instilled by Leppitsch in a large band of youngsters, Taylor sees a far brighter future ahead for the 15th-placed Brisbane.
The Lions lost five homesick players last year but have been quick to put faith in their current cubs and the rewards have started to come, with four wins from the past seven matches.
They’ve already re-signed Taylor, Darcy Gardiner, Michael Close, Sam Mayes, Marco Paparone and Nick Robertson, while James Aish, Daniel McStay and Jack Crisp have also emerged.
“There’s a good group here,” Taylor said.
“It’s young but we’re getting better and better each week. Hopefully in years to come we can be a strong team. It’s not going to happen straight away, that’s for sure. A couple more pre-seasons and a lot of hard work and we’re definitely on the right track and we know we can get there.”