The Brisbane Lions are pleased to announce that Hyundai Brisbane Lions Academy player Cain Tickner has been signed to an extended AFL Club agreement for 2012 and 2013.
While the 17 year-old Queenslander won’t reach the eligible drafting age this year, his signing to the scholarship-type program is a major step towards him potentially being recruited to the Lions with a priority selection before the 2013 AFL National Draft.
The drafting of Academy players works in a similar fashion to that of the pre-existing AFL Father-Son bidding system, whereby the Lions will have first and last rights to bid for Tickner’s services at the end of next year should they wish to draft him.
The exact draft selection used will be dependent on potential bids from rival clubs.
Tickner has so far enjoyed a relatively decorated junior football career in Queensland and is currently a Level 1 member of the illustrious AIS-AFL Academy program.
Only last weekend, he kicked a game-high four goals to help lead Queensland to their first ever win over Western Australia in the U18 AFL Championships in Blacktown.
Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran said the Club will now focus intently on furthering Tickner’s development over the next 12 months in the hope that he can become a viable draft prospect.
“Cain’s been with the Academy since he was 13, and has played in just about every Queensland representative team since he was 12,” Curran said.
“He was an All Australian at U15 level and was selected in AIS-AFL Academy as a result of his performance in last year’s U16 National Championships.”
“At 193cm, he can play as a tall midfielder, but can also go forward and kick goals. He presents really well and has a great set of hands.”
“There are obviously no guarantees with Cain, but we’ll work closely with him over the next 18 months or so to get him into a position where our recruiters want to draft him,” he said.
“He has plenty of positives, but there are still a number of things he needs to improve on if he’s going to become a good player for the Club in the long-term.”
Tickner, who is currently completing his Year 12 studies in Noosa, will be afforded the opportunity to spend extended time in Brisbane over the summer months to join in training with the Lions’ senior squad and utilise the Club’s staff resources and facilities.
While Tickner’s signing represents a significant step the Club’s local development programs, Curran believes it’s on the beginning.
“Cain is our first Academy player to be signed, but we’ll be looking closely at our other 15-17 year-old Academy boys over the next 6-12 months to see who puts their hand up ability wise and has the character and work ethic to follow suit.”
The Hyundai Brisbane Lions Academy was established to find, nurture and develop young Queensland talent within the Academy’s zone with the view to securing Academy players as members of the Lions’ senior list.