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Brisbane gets a boost: AFL awards luckless Lions a priority pick

Brisbane Lions General Manager David Noble (left) and Chris Fagan (right). (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Expert
6th October, 2016
33
1015 Reads

The Brisbane Lions will have an additional first round pick in the 2016 AFL draft after the AFL confirmed late on Thursday afternoon that they had decided in favour of the Lions’ application for a priority pick.

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The pick will be an end-of-first-round selection, currently coming at No.19. That will give the Lions three picks inside the top 25, currently at selections No.2, No.19 and No.21.

The Lions had a woefully poor season in 2016, setting unwanted records for poor defensive efforts and finishing only narrowly ahead of the ban-affected Essendon Bombers on the ladder.

They’ve been in the bottom four of the ladder three years in a row and sacked coach Justin Leppitsch at the end of the season, appointing a new senior coach, Chris Fagan, earlier this week.

The announcement arrives just in time for the upcoming trade period, as free agency begins on Friday morning and trading on Monday.

The Lions will have the option of either using the pick to draft more young talent at the national draft in November, or they could opt to use it in what looks likely to be a busy off-season.

Brisbane are expected to trade away Pearce Hanley to the Gold Coast Suns this October, and there have been rumours that captain Tom Rockliff might be on the move as well.

The priority pick could be a useful bargaining chip to involve in one of those trades as the Lions seek to strengthen their hand in the draft, or they could look to use it to attract a mature player from another club.

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They’re expected to acquire Collingwood’s Jack Frost this off-season, but will likely only trade a token pick from the third round or later to get that deal done.

It’s the first time since 2011 that the AFL has awarded a priority pick to any club.

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