Brisbane Lions defender Harris Andrews negating hottest forwards It's Sunday afternoon at Etihad and Brisbane Lions defender Harris Andrews,in his third year and playing his 50th game, is facing off against Essendon's Joe Daniher, an emerging star in his 84th.
It's an absorbing battle. Daniher kicks 3.4 and is a constant threat for the Bombers, but Andrews takes nine marks and negates or halves as many incoming contests as he can. In between, he's composed, gathering 20 possessions. He makes a couple of uncharacteristic errors he's generally a good ball user and decision maker but it doesn't bother him; he just gets on with it. He's as cool as Daniher is hot, and a crucial part of an upset Lions victory. Andrews was a Bombers supporter growing up. Before he was drafted, he and his father travelled to Metricon coach official online store Stadium to watch coach outlet sale x management Dustin Fletcher's 350th game against the Suns. Andrews was in full hero worship. "We were sitting there in the stands, I'm just absolutely loving it, like, hailing him," he said. "After the game I went down onto the ground with a couple of my mates to kick the footy around, and my Dad's talking to the bloke in front of us. And he said, 'Oh yeah, so where are you guys from?' It was actually Fletcher's parents, Ken Fletcher and his mother." On Sunday, watching Andrews match Daniher with his reach, cutting the angles, it's easy to be reminded of a (much younger) Dustin Fletcher. Statistically, Andrews is already rated among the top 10 tall defenders in the competition, and ahead of some much bigger names. Andrews is 20, and already in the leadership group at the Lions. It doesn't surprise anyone, except perhaps coach Chris Fagan, who has known him for less than a year. "He's a wise head on young shoulders," he said. "He's got a pretty complete game." Asked for where he was looking for improvement, Fagan said: "If you asked him, he'd say probably the offensive side of his game. The defensive side of his game's very, very good,but he's probably looking more to get involved in offence." Perhaps the key part of Fagan's response is his first four words "If you asked him.". I've already asked Andrews, and sure enough, he says the same thing. He prides himself on his ability to play for 120 minutes and for his intercept marking; now he knows the next step is to turn defence into attack. That's not easy in a side that's used to being belted. But the bigger point is that Andrews is a player who doesn't need to be told certainly not twice. Lions defensive coach Murray Davis has known Andrews a bit longer than Fagan, first spotting him as an academy junior up against his old side, NT Thunder. The transition to AFL level was swiftand it had as much to do with temperament as ability. Davis describes Andrews as someone who built bridges, not only between the Lions' younger and older players, but also to club staff, and not just the coaches. "Sometimes in a footy club environment it can be quite difficult, but I think he's the sort of guy who's just well respected by everyone." In defence, he's become the organiser. Occasionally you see him lose track of his opponent, but more often than not it's because he's directing his teammates. It's something he's taken upon himself, since Daniel Merrett's retirement last year, sometimes at the expense of his own game. But it's encouraging other players to buy in. "I guess it's trying to keep everyone on song, directing them to where their man is and just trying to take ownership out there," Andrews said."We are such a young group, and we've done a pretty good job this year as a group being able to work together." He says he lets talk of him being a future captain wash over him, and well he should. "Hopefully something that he doesn't have to even think about for a while, because you want boys to enjoy their footy when they're younger, and just concentrate on becoming good footballers," Fagan said. And Andrews seems to enjoy the journey, win or lose, at least in so far as he's clear about the destination. He's a young man in it for the long haul. "I think coach outlet locations zara there's a really clear direction that the club is heading in, and I'm very excited to be a part of that for the future." Less than a fortnight ago, the Lions coach outlet canada were smashed at home by 10 goals by the Giants, Jeremy Cameron and Jonathan Patton taking 24 marks and kicking eight goals between them. Andrews was bloodied that day, but he's never bowed; to come out the following week and break even with Daniher speaks volumes of his character. It's a one on one battle we'll see many times in the years ahead, and it will always be worth watching.
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