AUSTRALIAN RULES: Tom Matthews dreams of one day running onto The Gabba with the Brisbane Lions.
The former Dalby Swans junior got a taste of what it would feel like after he was invited to spend a week training with the senior Lions squad.
Matthews admitted he felt nervous walking into the first session.
"Showing up and not knowing many of them, I mean you know them on TV but when you get there it's different,” he said.
"But they pretty much took me under their arms for the week.
"The good thing about it was they're all good blokes and always had some advice.”
Brisbane centre-half and fellow tall defender Harris Andrews had plenty of advice to give.
"We both play in the back line so he gave me some things to work on, like your stance on your attacker and some little things that can help with my game,” Matthews said.
Matthews and his family moved to Brisbane last year to give him and his brother Ben the best chance at breaking into the AFL.
After spending a week training with the Lions Matthews said the move had definitely paid off.
"I have pretty much reached all my goals for the year,” he said.
He will be eligible for the 2018 draft but said there were some things he would like to achieve before then.
"That's the end goal but there are some other goals I have before then,” he said.
"I want to play all the games for the Lions Academy Series, get through that healthy and then potentially make the Allies (national) squad.”
Matthews has been a part of the academy for six years.
"They have pretty much just supported me the whole way,” he said.
"I'm doing extra sessions with them at the moment with a big year coming up.”
MANAGER RATES PLAYER
BRISBANE Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran said Tom Matthews was a stand out player in his age group over the past two years.
Which is why the former Dalby junior was selected to train with the senior squad.
"Tom has a busy 12 months ahead of him in the U18 Academy Series and he will hopefully be in the Allies team at the National Championships,” Curran said. "He is looking like he'll be one of our better players next year.”
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