Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has lauded his contingent of Lion cubs from Friday's win over Sydney, with debutant Jaspa Fletcher among those to step up for the Queensland club after making five changes for the encounter.
Veteran duo Jack Gunston and Daniel Rich both stood themselves down from selection after admitting their form wasn't to the required level, while Dayne Zorko (calf), Darcy Gardiner (quad), Hugh McCluggage (concussion) and Jaxon Prior (omitted) also made way.
The several changes opened the door for Fletcher to play his first game at AFL level, with the father-son draftee joining second-year utility Kai Lohmann, ruckman Darcy Fort, defender Ryan Lester and sub Callum Ah Chee as the inclusions, while last week's sub Keidean Coleman held a spot in the starting side.
Fletcher would end his maiden match with 13 possessions and a goal from three scoring shits, with his first ever major at the elite level capping off a three-goal run for the Lions in the second term.
— AFL (@AFL) June 16, 2023
Coleman recorded nine intercept possessions and 445 metres gained from his 20 disposals, while young midfielder Deven Robertson also impressed with a goal from 15 touches to likely retain his place under Fagan for another week.
"You always worry when you have to make a fair few changes in a week," Fagan said after the 16-point win. "It's good we were able to win and play as well as that without getting it on the scoreboard.
"If I go through the guys that played tonight, I thought Dev Robertson played really well. I know he was in the side last week as well but I like what he did.
"I thought Kai Lohmann got better after half-time and I thought his composure... that one in the last quarter where he kicked it to Dev, I thought that was terrific composure. He had three direct goal assists. I thought that was a good effort and he had a crack at tackling.
"Jaspa Fletcher played a really good first game. Brought the house down when he kicked that goal, that was tremendous.
"He shows a lot of promise. I'm glad we gave him a game.
"Darcy Fort was competitive. The other one was Kiddy Coleman. Played the full game tonight after being the sub last week, I thought he had a pretty good influence on the game.
"It's good to see our young players doing well."
The array of uplifting performances will give Fagan a welcomed headache come selection for next week's trip to Melbourne to face St Kilda, with McCluggage expected to return from his worrying head knock sustained against Hawthorn in Round 13.
Zorko wasn't named due to calf tightness and will also be considered for selection should he pass fitness tests.
Defender Jack Payne is expected to be cleared of a lower leg issue that hampered his game against the Swans in the opening half, with the Lions confident they'll only be stronger for when they face the Saints.
"We had a few bangs and bruises throughout the night. Jack Payne hurt his ankle pretty early and did a good job to keep playing. I think he'll be okay," Fagan added.
"We weren't forced to use our sub. I think we should come out of the game okay.
"We'll get Hugh McCluggage back which is good, hopefully Zorks as well will be around the mark. He just had some calf awareness late in the week and being a little bit older I just thought it was not worth the risk.
"He's really fit at the moment, so I just want to make sure when he plays he's not at risk."
Brisbane will face St Kilda at Marvel Stadium next Friday night for Spud's Game.