Backs to the wall, Lions made best of bad situation
CREDIT where credit's due.
And full credit to Lions recruiting manager Stephen Conole back in 2011 for plucking two absolute rippers for selection in the national draft.
You wonder if he can sit back now - if only briefly - with pride that two of his top choices that year, Sam Docherty and Elliot Yeo, have become two of the best defenders in the competition.
But, it must hurt that they are almost locks for a half back flank each in the All Australian team, while playing with Carlton and West Coast, respectively.
Six years ago, Conole's brief was to pick the best available talent at numbers 8 (Billy Longer), 13 (Docherty) and 30 (Yeo).
Not the best available who are unlikely to want to return home if chosen from outside of Queensland.
Whether being back in their original states has helped Docherty and Yeo to develop into the players they have become, or whether they were destined to become stars wherever they were, we will never know.
But, what's certain, is Conole was on the money with his selections judging by their 2017 form.
Docherty was plucked from Phillip Island in Victoria, his skills obvious despite him battling a serious hip injury in his final year in the TAC Cup.
Under the watchful eye of the Lions' WA scout Graeme Hadley, Yeo impressed as a junior in Perth, after he had modelled his game on that of Nat Fyfe, the pair both attending Aquinas College.
Both 23, Docherty now is arguably the most productive and poised rebounding defender in the game, Yeo arguably the most versatile, capable of sacrificing his own game to shut down an opponent or going on the attack off half back.
Docherty was again prolific for the Blues in their surprise win over Gold Coast on Saturday, racking up another 30 touches.
Yeo restricted the output of Patrick Dangerfield to play no small part in the Eagles' win over Geelong.
Docherty sits No.1 in the competition for marks (averaging 9.5 a game), Yeo third (8.25), with Collingwood high-flier Jeremy Howe (8.5) sandwiched in between.
But, again, credit where credit's due and full credit to Conole and his team for making the best of a bad situation in 2013 when Yeo, Docherty, Billy Longer and Jared Polec all walked.
They regrouped, and set about maximising their draft potential.
And while their first pick that year, James Aish, was a complete misfire, the next five - Lewis Taylor, Darcy Gardiner, Daniel McStay, Nick Robertson and Tom Cutler - all now in the fourth season, are all making an impact in the senior side.
Aside from Taylor, it's mostly defensively.
Gardiner, Taylor and Cutler have re-committed until 2019, with the signatures of Robertson and McStay (whose contracts are up at season's end) now the focus.
Conole's brief had no doubt changed in the two years between 2011 and 2013, to choosing not only players with talent, but also players with the fortitude to want to stick around and help rebuild Brisbane.
Construction might have been delayed, but it's well on its way again.
ONES THAT GOT AWAY FROM YOUR CLUB (and what was given in return)
Shane Mumford: (Geel to Syd, 2009). For pick 28 (Mitch Duncan).
Josh Kennedy/Ben McGlynn: (Haw to Syd, 2009). Picks 39 (Sam Grimley), 46 (Ben Stratton) and 70 (Matt Suckling).
Sam Jacobs: (Carl to Adel, 2010). Picks 34 (Patrick McCarthy) and 67 (Andrew McInness).
Jack Gunston: (Adel to Haw, 2011). Pick 24, ontraded to GC for pick 27 (Sam Kerridge, now at Carl).
Tom Lynch: (StK to Adel, 2011). Pick 37 (Jack Newnes).
Josh Jenkins: (Ess to Adel, 2011). Pick 31 (Jackson Merrett).
Dayne Zorko: (GC preselection to Bris, 2011). Pick 34, ended up at Geel, after several complicated deals.
Sharrod Wellingham: (Coll to WC, 2012) Pick 18 (Brodie Grundy).
Jack Hombsch/Jake Neade: (GWS to PA, 2012). Pick 28, ontraded to Haw (Tim O'Brien) for Stephen Gilham.
Dylan Roberton: (Frem to StK, 2012). Nothing in return.
Tom Scully: (Melb to GWS, 2012). Pick 4 (Jimmy Toumpas, now at PA).
Phil Davis: (Adel to GWS, 2012). Compo pick, traded back to GWS for mini-draft pick (Brad Crouch).
Callan Ward: (WB to GWS, 2012). Pick 6 (Jack Macrae).
Shane Mumford (again): (Syd to GWS, 2013). Pick 35 (Toby Nankervis, now at Rich).
Sam Docherty: (Bris to Carl, 2013). Pick 33 (Tom Cutler).
Elliot Yeo: (Bris to WC, 2013). Pick 28 (Lewis Taylor).
Jared Polec: (Bris to PA, 2013). Pick 14, passed on for later picks (Darcy Gardiner, Nick Robertson).
Billy Longer: (Bris to StK, 2013). Pick 25 (Daniel McStay).
Lance Franklin: (Haw to Syd, 2013). Pick 19, ontraded to StK (Ben McEvoy).
Dayne Beams: (Coll to Bris, 2014). Pick 5 (Jordan de Goey) and Jack Crisp.
Tim Membrey: (Syd to StK, 2014). Nothing in return.
Joel Hamling: (Geel to WB, 2014). Nothing in return.
Paddy Ryder: (Ess to PA, 2014). Picks 17 (Kyle Langford) and 37 (James Rose).
Paddy Dangerfield: (Adel to Geel, 2015). Pick 11 (Wayne Milera) and Dean Gore.
Jake Carlisle: (Ess to StK, 2015). Pick 6 (Aaron Francis).
Brad Hill: (Haw to Frem, 2016). Pick 23 (ontraded to StK as part of Jaeger O'Meara deal).
Tom Mitchell: (Syd to Haw, 2016). Pick 16 (Todd Marshall).
Caleb Marchbank: (GWS to Carl, 2016). Deal involved Geel first-round pick this year.