The Lions' Zac Bailey gets tackled by the Bulldogs' Bailey Williams at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium last Saturday.
The Lions' Zac Bailey gets tackled by the Bulldogs' Bailey Williams at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium last Saturday. HAMISH BLAIR

Teen Lion finding his feet

TEENAGER Zac Bailey is living the dream with the Brisbane Lions - sometimes it seems quite literally.

Bailey, 18, loves his sleep and is always getting ribbed by his roommates for nodding off at the drop of a hat.

They even have pictures of him asleep in airports and on planes.

The Darwin-born speedy midfielder joked this week thatit could be chronic fatigue, but then added it was because he was working so hard in training.

He also insisted his sleeping patterns were changing.

"I have kind of trimmed down the hours lately," he said.

"I used to (especially in the pre-season) sleep a fair bit, but it's certainly getting better."

Bailey moved from the Northern Territory to attend Adelaide's Prince Alfred School.

He played a few games for Norwood in the SANFL under-18s before being taken by the Lions as their second pick in the 2017 national draft.

After a handful of games in the NEAFL, Bailey made his AFL debut for the Lions at the MCG against reigning premier Richmond in round four this season.

The result was not what he and the team wanted - a 110-17 thrashing - but it was an unforgettable occasion for the teen.

"It was a dream come true to make my debut," he said.

"Even though we didn't obviously get the right result against Richmond, it was still an unreal experience to run out at the MCG ... a surreal experience and probably one I will never forget."

Bailey, who weighs in at 82kg and is 182cm tall, now has five AFL games under his belt and has been named on an extended bench for tomorrow's clash with Hawthorn at the Gabba.

He says he is having fun in the AFL and learning plenty from the more experienced players at the club.

"As each week has gone by I have just been enjoying it more and more," he said.

"Hodgy (Luke Hodge) has been really good. The guidance he has given me with his knowledge of the game has been really good.

"But that's not just me, he has helped the team so much.

"Most of the experienced players, like Dayne Zorko and Dayne Beams, set a great example for us young kids coming through, so they are definitely ones to look up to."

The Lions are yet to win this season but have gone close, losing to the Bulldogs 107-93 last round, to the Suns 76-71 in round five and to Port Adelaide 97-92 in round three.

"I think we are on the right track and heading in the right direction, and in the games we have played we have been pretty competitive," Bailey said.

"We have just got to work on our last quarters and finishing off games."



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