It’s just his first official day as an AFL player, but it won’t be all unchartered territory for Brisbane Lions recruit, Liam Dawson.
The 18 year-old spent a month training with the Lions over the past year, as part of the AFL and Lions Academy programs, before being selected by Brisbane at yesterdays’ Academy bidding meeting.
As part of the Brisbane Lions Academy, the Lions had priority access to the Aspley utility, but had to fight off a rival bid from Richmond to nab the youngster with their third-round pick.
“I don’t really go in cold, like I would if I had gone to Richmond,” he said.
“It’s good to know a few of the guys and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Lions vice-captain Tom Rockliff, budding midfielder, Sam Mayes and former Lions Academy members, Jordon Bourke and Jono Freeman, were among those to offer their congratulations to one of their newest teammates.
Freeman, the first Lions Academy player to graduate onto a senior list, has been a sounding board for Dawson through the season, after playing with him in the 2013 Queensland team.
“Jono said it (his first season) has been one of the best years,” he said.
“It’ll be nice to follow in his footsteps and hopefully play some senior footy in my first year.”
While he had long been talked about as a potential Academy selection, Dawson said he still wasn’t entirely sure of the Lions’ decision until last week’s AFL combine.
“I spoke to (Lions Academy head coach) Scott Borlace a bit, but he never said the Lions are definitely going to take you,” he said.
“He just said, ‘keep doing what you’re doing and just do the little things.’”
Dawson was inundated with text messages after news of his selection, but it was his biggest supporter, his mum, Bev, who was most excited.
“She was in tears,” he said.
“She was stoked. I can’t explain how excited she is right now. “
“I think I’ve had to charge my phone about every two hours, it’s been a pretty awesome 24 hours.”
Fellow Hornet, Harris Andrews, was selected with the Lions fourth-round pick, matching a bid from North Melbourne.
Andrews emerged as a draft contender this season, standing out in the back half of the season in the Queensland back line.
The selection caps off a dream year for Dawson, who was a part of the AIS/AFl Academy and the Hornets’ NEAFL premiership winning team.
“Playing on the mcg twice in one year, without being on an AFL list – playing with the AIS and the Allies group before the grand final – that was a great experience,” he said.
‘The whole year has really been a highlight for me.”