Cameron Rayner celebrates a goal for the Lions. Picture: Michael Klein
Cameron Rayner celebrates a goal for the Lions. Picture: Michael Klein

No.1 pick inspired by Lions greats to stay at Gabba

Brisbane young gun Cameron Rayner says the elevation of Lion Kings Jonathan Brown and Simon Black to the AFL Hall of Fame is a reminder to the current 'department of youth' on the benefits of staying and playing at the Gabba.

Collectively, Brown and Black achieved almost everything there is to achieve in the AFL as one-club players during their glorious careers with Brisbane.

The Lions have become a destination club in recent times having stopped the exodus of young talent that hit its low point with the departure of the 'Go Home Five' at the end of 2013.

Brisbane boast an enviable core of young players that can grow together into a premiership force if they remain at the Lions.

Rayner - the No.1 draft pick in 2017 - was handed the no.16 guernsey at Brisbane made famous by Brown.

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He joked that he thought he had an instant fan base when he first arrived at the Gabba with so many supporters donning his number on the back of their Lions jumpers.

He said the past deeds of Brown and Black were a modern-day retention weapon for Brisbane.

"100 per cent. To see that (triple premiership) team, they started all young together and had success as they grew older,'' Rayner said.

"That's something that we want to do here. I feel like we've got the foundation. We just need to put in the work and strive towards that.

"It is a little bit reassuring to see it can be done. Hopefully we can do that and follow in the same footsteps.''

Rayner said he enjoyed seeing highlight's of Brown's career in the No.16 jumper.

"I watched a video on Facebook of Browny. You sit there and watch it and take in that he's a superstar of the game. I guess I took that for granted,'' he said.

 

Simon Black and Jonathan Brown have been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Simon Black and Jonathan Brown have been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

 

"It's an honour to wear that jumper and it's so exciting to see them put in the Hall of fame. They are both superstars of the game.''

Brisbane will resume their 2020 campaign at the Gabba next Saturday against Fremantle with Rayner saying the nailbiting loss to the Dockers in Perth last year still stung the Lions.

"It was a shocker that one. It was a good game, a close game and we know what they can do. We play good footy at the Gabba so we've got to make sure we can take advantage of it,'' he said.

"I saw it (the Fremantle win over Brisbane) on Facebook the other day. I remember the feeling, it was terrible. We know what we did wrong in that game and we went back and corrected it.''

 

Originally published as No.1 pick inspired by Lions greats to stay at Gabba