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Cameron Rayner has been selected by his fellow AFL draftees to be the player most likely to impress in his first season playing in the premiership. Earlier this month, more than 100 of the country’s most talented youngsters headed down to Melbourne to attend the AFL Players’ Association Induction camp, where they had the chance to vote for their fellow colleagues.
According to the AFLPA, 21 percent of the draftees believe that the Lions’ number-one draft pick will be awarded the best first-year player honours, with North Melbourne’s Luke Davis-Uniacke tipped as the second-favourite on 14 percent, followed by Carlton’s Paddy Dow with six. Currently, Rayner is the fourth-favourite at $11.00 to take out the rising star award according to the latest AFL odds, and the Brisbane faithful will be excited about what he can bring to the table this season.
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The player voted the most likely to surprise the competition went to Tim Kelly who was picked at number 24 by the Geelong Cats, with West Coast’s Liam Ryan closely behind him on seven percent.
The youngsters also had the chance to vote on which existing stars they most admired, and Luke Hodge took the number one spot with nine percent, Nat Fyfe on seven and Joel Selwood with six.
During the two days at the camp, the players were addressed by several speakers including the AFLPA president Matthew Pavlich, Kane Lambert from the Richmond Tigers, as well as retired veterans Drew Petrie, Leigh Montagna and Andrew Swallow.
Rayner said that the camp had been extremely beneficial and opened his eyes up to how much support there is within the game. He realised that the key to having a long and successful career was to do something off the field as well as giving it your all on the pitch.
Brett Johnson, the AFLPA’s general manager of player development, said that the camp was designed to provide the draftees with an opportunity to understand the type of support that is available to them. They want to show the players that there are many different programmes on offer to enhance their AFL careers both on and off the field. There is a strong focus on encouraging them to pursue a career outside of footy, and be prepared for what they might look to do after their football years are behind them.
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Even better news for the Lions is the fact that Rayner has signed with the club for another two seasons already, meaning he will be at the club until at least the end of 2021. The player said that he feels the organisation is moving in the right direction and he has been surprised with the amount of young talent already playing at the Gabba.
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has been extremely pleased with Cameron’s development over the past few months and the desire he has to learn from his more experienced teammates. Fagan tips Rayner to have a highly successful career in the AFL due to his competitive nature and willingness to work hard. After the Lions struggled for much of last year, it would be fantastic for the club if the youngster can help to turn things around and bring them back into the top eight in the next couple of seasons.