Witherden nets new Lions contract

04 February 2018 00:25:27 GMTPlus11

Brisbane Lions have rewarded Alex Witherden with a new contract after his successful first AFL season.

Witherden was one of the Lions' big success stories last year, playing nine games and averaging 23 disposals.

The 19-year-old, who was drafted with pick 23 in the 2016 AFL Draft, had to wait until the round 14 clash with Greater Western Sydney for his debut.

He then established himself in the side and was the round 17 nominee for the AFL Rising Star award after recording 28 disposals and four tackles against Richmond at Etihad Stadium.

The Lions have extended his contract through to the end of the 2020 season, continuing their pre-season focus on securing their young talent.

Hugh McCluggage and No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner have also been re-signed in the past six weeks.

Witherden, who overcame a broken leg in his early days with the Lions, said skipper Dayne Beams played a big part in his re-signing.

"He's been a really big mentor for me along the way," he added. "He leads by example and he's hard but fair and I think that's what you want as a leader."

General manager of football David Noble said Witherden was a bright young man with footy smarts.

He added: "We look forward to watching him grow with us and seeing what he, along with our emerging group of re-signings, will bring in the coming years."

Brisbane have also secured new draftee and Lions Academy graduate Jack Payne on a new deal through to the end of 2020.

The Lions are 5000/1 to win the Grand Final. Brisbane are 500/1 to finish in the top eight.

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