The Brisbane Lions' rebuild
is likely to receive a boost this year with academy key forward Connor Ballenden emerging as one of the top tall prospects in the draft pool.
The 198cm marking goalkicker has been a part of the club's local academy since he was 12 years old, and the Lions will get first access to him at November's NAB AFL Draft.
His size, marking ability and prowess around goal has already seen recruiters assess him as a possible top-10 selection.
Ballenden spent two weeks training with the senior Lions squad over summer as part of the NAB AFL Academy program, and said the experience had made him even keener to join the club.
"It was really exciting to spend two weeks with them through the AFL academy program. It opened my eyes to how much it takes day in and day out to be an AFL player with preparation, diet, recovery and all of that," Ballenden said during the NAB AFL Academy's training camp in America.
"I spent a bit of time with Josh Schache and Harris Andrews, and see them as young blokes who I look up to. Hopefully I get to play with them in years to come. It's pretty exciting times at Brisbane, I think, so if I was lucky enough to get picked up by them I already would have spent some time with them.
"I've been told a few times that they're interested and they'd like to have me at the club, but we'll see how it goes later in the year. If they were to pass on me and I was to go somewhere else that would be fine as well."