Aspley/Brisbane Lions NEAFL
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Position: Key position forward/defender
Draft range: 10-25
Strengths: Agile, strong mark overhead, versatile
Weaknesses: Inconsistent by foot
Player comparison: Harris Andrews
First year impact: Long-term prospect
Marking: Above average
Endurance: Above average
The Lions should have three first round picks with Ben Keays and Eric Hipwood likely to find themselves at the Lions in 2016. Both players are academy members for the Lions, meaning they will need to match bids from other clubs in order to claim these players.
Hipwood matured as a 16-year-old, kicking 10 goals in three games at the under 16 championships for Queensland.
Hipwood has really jumped into consideration as a top 20 pick after earning himself All-Australian honours at the under 18 championships. Hipwood was best on ground in the division two game against Tasmania, where he kicked four goals and collected 20 disposals.
He is a unique player for his size, at 200 centimetres he is very agile and moves well around the ground. A real positive of Hipwood is that he has the versatility to play in defence and up forward. Playing for the Brisbane Lions reserves this year he has kicked 12 goals in nine games, often alternating between playing as a key defender and as a forward.
Hipwood’s marking ability is another positive. In the three national championship games, he took 22 marks indicating that he can control his marks on a lead, or intercept in front of an opponent in defence.
However, he is let down by his poor foot skills. On multiple times in the championships, he butchered the ball coming out of the defence turning the ball over.
Overall his efficiency by hand and foot in the three championships matches was 53, 65 and 58 per cent, which could be considered poor compared to his other opponents and teammates.
However, Hipwood has a fantastic upside. With his ability overhead, the Lions have a great prospect that they can use at either end of the ground. He’s better suited to playing as a key forward with his poor kicking around the ground. There aren’t too many versatile 200 cm players that can swing forward and back, which may mean he could go close to cracking the top 10 come draft night in November.
Hipwood is unlikely to feature much in his first year. He will be allowed to develop and fill out his body, which is not too similar to Harris Andrews’ last year. Brisbane would be mad not to match whatever bid comes about for Hipwood, as he has fantastic potential and massive upside with his body size.