Lion stands tall to silence critics
Lion stands tall to silence critics

Brisbane's remarkable list turnaround was completed yesterday when small forward Lewis Taylor won the 2014 Rising Star award.

Twelve months ago, the Lions were reeling. They were searching for a new coach and young players were walking out.

Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Sam Docherty (Carlton), Jared Polec (Port Adelaide), Billy Longer (St Kilda) and Patrick Karnezis (Collingwood) all left and the Lions went to the draft in an attempt to rebuild.

Three of the players they drafted were nominated for the Rising Star and Taylor edged out Western Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli to win by one vote.

Brisbane football manager Dean Warren said the Lions were a vastly different club to last year.

"There's no doubt it's a lot stronger," Warren said. "It's no secret that we've added a lot of resources to our footy department. As a smaller club in a northern market, it's always tough when you're under- resourced. Eighty five per cent of our list is from interstate.

"That's the reality we live in.

"But with an extra couple of resources, a few development coaches, a new coach, a lot of new players, it's been a big shift.

"We had 10 players debut this year and that's a remarkable achievement in a year where we had seven wins."

Taylor has already extended his contract at Brisbane.

Another Lion, James Aish, finished fourth yesterday to further show the club's talent.

Taylor's win continued a remarkable personal story. He paid tribute to his father and brother during his speech.

A court order led to Taylor living with his dad and the teenager no longer has contact with his mother after she accessed his bank account and was later jailed for drug-related offences.

"Dad's been great for me," Taylor said.

"Getting me to games, training and representative stuff - we've had some good times along the way. I'm very thankful. He obviously worked hard to get me and my brother back."

At just 173cm, Taylor was often told he was too small for the AFL.

He had to wait until pick 28 to join the Lions despite captaining Vic Country at the under-18 national titles.

Taylor played every game for the year, averaged 17 possessions and kicked 12 goals.

ยท Tenacious midfielder Tom Liberatore followed in his father's footsteps and capped his brilliant 2014 season when he claimed the Western Bulldogs best-and-fairest award last night.

Liberatore won the Charles Sutton Medal with 235 votes, 67 ahead of runner-up Jackson Macrae. Ryan Griffen (154 votes) was third in the count, held at Melbourne's Crown Palladium.

The 22-year-old's father, Dogs legend and Brownlow medallist Tony Liberatore, won the club's best-and-fairest award in 1991.

Tom, who finished second in last season's count, averaged 23 disposals in 22 games this year.


  • VOTING * 39 Lewis Taylor (Brisbane) 38 Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) 32 Luke McDonald (North Melbourne) 19 James Aish (Brisbane) 7 Kade Kolodjashnij (Gold Coast) 5 Luke Dunstan (St Kilda) 5 Tom Langdon (Collingwood) 3 Harry Cunningham (Sydney) 1 Josh Kelly (GWS) 1 Jarman Impey (Port Adelaide)

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West