Eric Hipwood of the Lions.
Eric Hipwood of the Lions. TRACEY NEARMY

Lions rookie earns comparisons to AFL great

BRISBANE might have found itself a gem in young swingman Eric Hipwood.

And the teenager is already drawing comparisons to 400-game Essendon great Dustin Fletcher.

A lean and lanky figure at 202cm and 92kg, Hipwood enjoyed a fine outing during Brisbane's JLT Community Series clash with the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night.

He finished with seven disposals, two marks and a goal in an eight-point Lions win, however it was his work around the ground that impressed the punters.

So much so that AFL great Dermott Brereton claimed both he and young defender Harris Andrews remind him of one of the game's all-time great key position players.

"They're so long with their reach, they're almost like Dustin Fletcher," Brereton said during Fox Footy's coverage of the clash.

"He (Hipwood) will get bigger, stronger and heavier, but I don't think he'll turn into a beast. He might be in that Dustin Fletcher mould for his entire career, so he's got versatility and mobility.

"If we look at the way he's playing now, he's a little bit like why Nathan Buckley pushed Travis Cloke aside for Darcy Moore - because he reaches the ball a lot higher off the ground. He meets the ball a long way off the turf."

A member of the club's academy program, Hipwood was recruited to the Lions with pick 14 in the 2015 national draft.

The 19-year-old played only 10 games in his rookie season last year, kicking 11 goals from 27 scoring shots in a mainly forward role under Justin Leppitsch.

It looks as though he will remain inside 50 under new coach Chris Fagan, with his impressive potential as a forward on show throughout Thursday night's match.

But, according to Hawthorn legend Ben Dixon, the two-metre prospect might even have the ability to rotate through the midfield a bit later in his career.

"These are big signs for Brisbane because they're looking at their forward stocks, with Josh Schache not playing tonight, and he's been so clean with his hands," Dixon said.

"He's looked lively, he's led up to the ball well, he's gone back and he's pushed up the ground. He's got plenty of room to move with his physique as well.

"When he drops the ball, he mops it up and he uses his hands quite well. He's got good awareness for a big forward."

News Corp Australia


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