The Brisbane Lions are committed to using their fourth round selection at the 2013 AFL National Draft (currently Pick No.59 overall) on Queensland key position prospect Jonathan Freeman following a successful Father/Son and Academy bidding meeting.
Although the Lions had priority access to the 19-year-old due to his involvement in the Hyundai Lions Academy, all other clubs were given the opportunity to bid for his services at the official bidding meeting at Etihad Stadium on Monday morning.
The Lions will use their fourth round selection – currently Pick No.59 overall – at next month’s National Draft on Freeman, after Adelaide bid their third round draft selection – Pick No.42 overall – for the 198cm forward.
Freeman joins rookie Jordon Bourke as the second member of the Hyundai Lions Academy to be drafted to the Lions, but will make history as the first to graduate to make his way onto the Club’s senior list.
“Obviously it’s a huge relief knowing that I’m going to get picked up without having to wait for the actual Draft,” Freeman said.
“I’m particularly excited to be staying in Queensland and going to the club that I have always barracked for.”
“I remember going along to the Grand Final parades in the early 2000s and chasing the signatures of Lions players at the airport, so it’s a bit surreal to know that I’ll now be part of the Club.”
Freeman is a 198cm key position prospect who has grown four centimetres since undergoing the Hyundai Lions Academy’s U18 summer program last year.
He is a key forward who has shown considerable improvement over the past 12 months, but was sidelined for a large part of 2013 with a groin injury.
Lions General Manager – Football Operations, Dean Warren, said the Club was thrilled to secure such a promising home-grown talent.
“Jono has been a relatively late bloomer, but he’s shown enough in the past year to suggest that he’s capable of becoming a serious AFL player,” Warren said.
“Quality tall forwards are incredibly hard to find, so we’re thrilled to have potentially found one in our own backyard.
“It’s a real credit to all the Lions Academy staff, who work tirelessly in developing local Queensland talent into future AFL players.
“The other positive about securing him early is that he can now be part of our pre-season training program from day one.”
Hyundai Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran said Freeman was an exciting proposition, but like most key developing position players, was still a work in progress.
“Jono was pretty raw last year, but worked hard over summer to develop his fitness and strength, along with his marking and goal-kicking,” Curran said.
“He’s very coachable, and is always looking for feedback on how he can improve further.”
Freeman will join his new Lions teammates when pre-season training resumes on Monday 4 November.