Catching up with Hippy and Keaysy

Seventy-six days ago, Eric Hipwood and Ben Keays went from community club and state academy players to AFL footballers with the Brisbane Lions.


It’s been a whirlwind few months for Hipwood (pick 14) and Keays (pick 23), but both performed strongly in the Lions intra-club match at Yeronga on Friday.


We haven’t heard from our boys since they were drafted, so as they walked off the ground on Friday, Andrew Wiles grabbed them for a chat.


Andrew Wiles: You’ve been at the club a few months now, any bromances forming?

Ben Keays: Dan McStay and Tom Cutler have been working with me a bit, they don’t mind throwing some chat and getting around me a bit. They are a bit older, but it’s been nice.


AW: Anything really taken you by surprise?

BK: There haven’t been any real surprises; I just probably wasn’t prepared for the heat I don’t think. That was the biggest adjustment, compared to training at nighttime in the juniors.


AW: Your name has been thrown around a bit as a possible early debutant, do you think about that?

BK: Not really, it’s just about earning the respect of the boys right now. There is some outstanding talent through our midfield, there have been a couple of injuries but everyone is training right now so it’s just about learning off them. Obviously (the debut) is a goal, but it doesn’t bother me when that is. It’s all about learning and balancing in with the group.


AW: What’s been the best bit?

Just being around it full time. It took a while to sink in that this is my job, it’s so fun. I love the banter with all the players and staff, everyone is so close, it’s like a big family. Being a part of that has been the most enjoyable thing so far.


AW: What do you want to get out of the next eight months?

BK: To play a game would be great, but I’ve got to just keep learning and growing. I don’t want to steadily improve, I want to get better straight away and go from there.
Then, after kicking two goals and having another shot hit the post, it was Eric Hipwood’s turn.


Andrew Wiles: Be honest, how tired have you been after training?

Eric Hipwood: It’s pretty much get home and have a nap… and over the weekends you don’t do too much. It’s a bit of a struggle staying awake when you get home.


AW: How much has life changed for you?

EH: In some areas it’s changed a lot but not in others. The academy gave us a great insight into the AFL lifestyle. The day-to-day get up and going again has been hard but I’ve loved every minute of it.


AW: What was it like playing one-on-one with Harris Andrews, a person you followed into the Queensland academy?

EH: It was fantastic. Watching him on TV last year was awesome. Him playing on me today was a massive learning curve. It was a bit surreal, and I definitely woke up this morning with a few butterflies in the stomach.


AW: Do you feel at home yet?

EH: Yes and no. Obviously it took a while to feel comfortable, and obviously that will still take a while to feel completely comfortable at this level, but the players have been really welcoming.


AW: What’s the goal for this year?

EH: Just to keep learning, get the structures right, and get a bit stronger in the gym.

Our Supporters