Help the Lions search for future stars of the AFL.

AFL in Queensland has never been in a stronger position.

A record 14 Queenslanders have made their senior AFL debut in 2011 while a total of 53 players from the Sunshine State currently occupy positions on AFL lists.

But not all Queensland talents have taken traditional paths into the competition.

Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett was a star basketballer as a junior before joining the Crows, Carlton ruckman Shaun Hampson had a background in soccer while Western Bulldogs defender Tom Williams made the transition from Rugby Union.

The Lions’ own Daniel Merrett (volleyball, cricket, touch), Broc McCauley (soccer, cricket, basketball) and Claye Beams (cricket) have also come from non-traditional AFL backgrounds.

Even the likes of Karmichael Hunt (Gold Coast) and Israel Folau (GWS) have made the code-switch after already representing Rugby League at an elite level.

As a key part of the Hyundai Lions Academy, the Brisbane Lions are on a mission to identify talented athletes from other sports and successfully turn them into ‘future stars’ for the Club.

The Club has now set up the Future Stars (for Primary School students) and Rookie Search (for Secondary School students) programs to help expand their reach for first-choice athletes across all sports.

Hyundai Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran believes the development of these programs could help the Club secure more home-grown talent.

“The Academy has two main focuses – identifying and developing existing junior players from within the AFLQ local club system and talent pathway, and also identifying and developing high level athletes from other sporting backgrounds that have some athletic attributes and skills that we think could transfer across to our game,” Curran said.

“Future Stars and Rookie Search are not mass recruitment campaigns but rather selective talent identification program that provides opportunities for talented athletes to experience more AFL without necessarily committing to a whole season first up.”

“Boys in previous years have gone onto play Academy, State and AFL level within short periods of time like Daniel Merrett.”

“We are now focusing mainly on the 12 – 16 year-olds to allow them plenty of time to learn and develop the skills and game knowledge required. The younger they take up AFL, the more time we have to help them develop.”

“In saying that the, a lot of out 17 and 18 year-olds have gone on to play State level football or higher within 18 months,” he said.

“We are really looking to expand our identification reach and want the greater Lions network to help us find the next Daniel Merrett.”

If you know of someone aged between 12 – 16 (through school, friends or junior sporting teams) who has shown signs of being a promising athlete in another sport, please contact the Club by calling 07 3335 1777 or email 

Who knows? It could be a point in the right direction towards a future Lions recruit.

Click here for more information about our Future Stars program.

Click here for more information about our Rookie Search program.

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