Rising star has Lions teammate in awe
RYAN Lester has the best seat in the house.
As part of a promising Brisbane Lions attack, the 92-gamer marvels at the skills being put on display by teammate Eric Hipwood.
The 19-year-old Hipwood already has two nominations for goal of the year, the latest coming against Port Adelaide last weekend.
"Two hundred-plus centimetres ... to be able to wheel around on your left foot, dodging a couple of players and kicking it from 50, that's where the comparisons with Buddy Franklin comes from," Lester said.
"It's just so rare that someone can move like that with that sort of height.
"It's great that he can do that at the moment, but there's still so much improvement in him.
"And it's exciting because he's a Queenslander - a Sunny Coast boy. It provides real inspiration to young kids coming through.
"And not just Eric but Harris Andrews, Ben Keays, there's a lot of Queenslanders in our side these days.
"It's really exiting, not only for Brisbane but Queensland football."
Lester is looking forward to being there when Hipwood forms a lethal combination with the recently re-signed Josh Schache, who kicked five goals in the reserves last week.
"Josh hasn't played a lot of games in the seniors but we know going forward, him and Eric are going to form a dangerous partnership," he said.
"If you can have a couple of really solid tall forwards you can build your side around that.
"With Mitch Robinson and Allen Christensen being injured we haven't had our best forward half in yet, but it's provided opportunities for guys like Jake Barrett."
Lester himself is making the most of his chance to cement a spot in attack.
At 24 and in his seventh season, he is relishing being part of the leadership group.
"I feel like so far it's probably been my best season, certainly my most consistent," he said.
"A lot of it's on the back of (coach) Chris Fagan and (football boss) David Noble coming into the organisation.
"In the past I've been thrown around during games. Certainly the coaches have been clear with every player about what their expectations are.
"I think it's allowed a lot of us to be playing really good footy ... consistent footy, week in week out, which is what we've probably struggled to do in the past."
An unassuming half-forward, Lester gathered 22 disposals in the loss to Port last week and - for Supercoach aficionados - 127 points.
"I do have a couple of mates back in Melbourne and they let me know if I'm going all right or not going well," he said.
A Victorian-turned-Queenslander, Lester will be a key on Saturday when the Lions are back at the Gabba, and confident of taking it up to an injury-hit GWS.
"We definitely see it as an opportunity," he said.
"GWS obviously have a lot of talent. In saying that I think our last couple of weeks have been really promising (beating Freo and losing to Port).
"You never know, they got beaten by Carlton (two weeks). We certainly feel we could win this game."