NEXT BIG THING: Former Coast player Jono Freeman is set for his AFL debut.
NEXT BIG THING: Former Coast player Jono Freeman is set for his AFL debut. PHOTO Michael Wilsonafl Media

Freeman's time to shine with the Lions

SUNSHINE Coast product Jono Freeman says he is ready to step into the Brisbane Lions' forward line following the retirement of club legend Jonathan Brown. And Brown is helping him to achieve his dream.

Freeman and Brown have formed a close bond since the ex-Noosa Tiger joined the Lions in November.

"It is a bit cliche but it has been a dream come true because I idolised Brownie growing up and watching him play in those premiership winning sides," Freeman said.

"It has been unreal to have him as a mentor over the past few months and learning things from him and adding those things to my game."

Standing at 198cm, Freeman has been impressive for the Lions reserves team this year and his form could deliver him the ultimate reward in the form of an AFL debut.

Another contributing factor could be his friendship with the three-time premiership- winning full forward with Brown becoming a huge influence on the 19-year-old's development.

"He has been doing a lot of one-on-one work with me and teaching me on ways to get separation from direct opponents and marking," Freeman said. "He will take you for a coffee and ask you about the things you are struggling with, so I can't speak highly enough of Brownie as a bloke.

"I think he will continue his role as a mentor with us young key forwards, so it will be great to have him around and keep learning off him."

Freeman was picked up by the club following his stand out performances at the National Under-18 Championship last August, despite suffering a debilitating Osteitis Pubis injury.

With his body now back to full strength, Freeman said he hoped his AFL debut was not too far away.

"Hopefully I can knuckle down and play a few good games over the next few weeks and get a spot and make it my own," he said.

"It would be a very special moment for me and my family to pull on the Lions colours."


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