Submitted by Peter Blucher
Basketball convert Tom Fullarton has won a huge commendation after playing the best game of his AFL career in the Brisbane Lions loss to Hawthorn in Launceston on Sunday.
Former StKilda star Leigh Montagna, in commentary duties on FoxFooty, highlighted the potential of the 23-year-old after his 16th game filling in at centre half forward in a depleted Lions forward line.
“I really liked what I saw from him … I’m claiming him early … he’s going to be my boy because I think he’s going to be something special moving forward,” Montagna said on ‘First Crack’ on Sunday night.
“He’s getting better and better. I see a lot of (Melbourne ruckman) Luke Jackson in him. He’s a 200cm athlete who can roam all over the field. He can mark it over his head but he’s so clean below his knees too. He had 13 possessions against Hawthorn – 11 contested – and a lot of them were ground balls.”
Fullarton, a former Australian Under 19 basketballl captain signed by the Lions as a Category B rookie, took two strong contested marks and gave off three goal assists.
“I can see him holding his place in the team,” Montagna said, before suggesting that at least if the Lions were to lose an out-of-contract Dan McStay at the end of the season it would not be such a big deal.
It was a Brisbane showing most notable for the performance of three young Queenslanders as they twice gave up a match-winning lead in the club in their first game against a Hawthorn side not coached by Alastair Clarkson since 2004.
Jack Payne, deployed in defence in the absence of Marcus Adams, was solid all day and kicked a beautiful goal when thrown forward late, and Keidean Coleman, relishing his new role across half back, was outstanding with a career-best 26 possessions – up from his previous best of 18.
In other Queensland news from Round 10:-
Bailey Scott, a shining light in a struggling North Melbourne side all year, had a career-best 27 possessions and 12 marks in the Roos’ loss to Melbourne.
Rory Thompson, in his third game back after a four-year absence, is believed to have escaped yet another knee reconstruction despite being forced off the ground in the second quarter of the Gold Coast’s loss to the Western Bulldogs. He is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks.
And ahead of the Mid-Season Rookie Draft on 1 June, ex-Lions Queenslander Connor Ballanden has loomed as a possible selection. Playing as a forward/ruck this year with the Eagles in the SANFL after being delisted by Brisbane last year, he has been listed for a full medical supervised by the AFL. He was among 14 players on this list which requires a nomination from at least to AFL clubs.
Peter Blucher is a Consultant with Vivid Sport.