Carter Michael’s Lions Debut

Maroochydore youngster Carter Michael proudly wore jumper #39 in his Brisbane Lions debut at the Gabba on Sunday. And not because of any long-held fascination with former glamor boy Warwick Capper.

Michael wore #39 because of his long-time link to a player who 17 years ago walked a similar path to the AFL, Josh Drummond.

Now an assistant-coach with the Gold Coast Suns, Drummond holds the Brisbane record of 94 games in jumper #39 from 2005-12.

An outstanding AFL player after being ignored completely through three drafts, Drummond has been an inspiration and mentor to the 20-year-old blonde, whose powerhouse left foot has a striking resemblance to the Drummond weapon enjoyed so much by Brisbane fans.

Michael’s stunning first AFL goal in the final quarter of the Lions’ 10-point loss to the Bombers, which curled in between the big sticks from the left after he’d let fly on the run from outside 50m, had Drummond written all over it.

Like Michael, Drummond was a Maroochydore product, and the ‘founding father’ of an emerging Sunshine Coast quartet set to play a long role in the Lions future.

Called into a Covid-stricken Lions side that played Essendon at the Gabba, Michael debuted alongside Eric Hipwood, Jack Payne and Tom Fullarton on Sunday, and had a large private cheersquad of family and friends on hand.

He finished with eight possessions and his memorable goal, and in a Brisbane side hurriedly thrown together amid nine changes after a heavy Covid impact he looked comfortable at the level.

A product of the Lions Academy and a Maroochydore QAFL player in 2020, Michael was claimed by the Lions as an Academy pick in the 2020 Rookie Draft.

He had played more as an outside midfielder in his junior days and might well end up in that role at AFL level, but his development in defence over the past 18 months has been a joy to the Brisbane coaching staff.

Already presenting something of a name challenge for a media that will inevitably call him Michael Carter in error, he is just the sixth player to wear jumper #39 for Brisbane.

Capper, the high-flying Sydney Swans full forward who played 34 games with the Bears in 1988-90, was the first. Ironically, the second was another Sunshine Coaster Jason Millar, who played his one and only game in 1991.

Dual premiership player Tim Notting played his first 17 games in #39 in 1998-99 before Drummond’s 94 and Jackson Paine’s 10 games in 2014-16.

Ironically, Michael debuted on the same weekend as another Sunshine Coaster, Noah Cumberland, made his first ‘real’ AFL appearance for Richmond against the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Officially, Cumberland debuted in Round 11 against Sydney, but he spent the entire game on the bench as the medical substitute.

He started as the medical substitute again on Saturday, but when Tom Lynch was forced out of the game early due to early he was quickly into the action.

Cumberland had two goals by quarter-time and could have had more – he kicked 2-3.

Just as it was a moment the third-year Richmond youngster will never forget, it was a career-moment for the four Queensland football products in the Gold Coast side.

Jack Bowes, Mabior Chol, Caleb Graham and PNG boy Hewago Oau, included in the Queensland AFL ‘family’ here because he was a product of the Queensland system, were part of possibly the best Suns win in history.

Each played their part in a game in which the Suns came from 40 points down early in the last quarter to beat the 2017-19-20 premiers with a goal after the siren from Noah Anderson.

Bowes had 24 possessions, Chol nine possessions and three goals, Graham 14 possessions and livewire Oau six possessions and a goal.

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