'Bam Bam' makes impact on Lions debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Bam Bam' makes impact on Lions debut

By Laine Clark 29/03/2009 02:16:00 PM Comments (0)

Big things are expected from Brisbane Lions draftee Daniel Rich.

And if he needed any reminding, the 18-year-old just has to look at the guernsey the AFL club provided him - Lions legend Marcus Ashcroft's No.10.

But even Lions coach Michael Voss admitted the boom recruit's AFL debut exceeded his expectations.

Subiaco recruit Rich may have worshipped the Eagles growing up in WA but he showed little regard for them at the Gabba on Saturday night, racking up 21 classy touches to help inspire the Lions' come from behind nine-point win over West Coast.

Dubbed "Bam Bam" by his teammates for his similarity to the Flintstones character, Rich looks young enough to still be watching cartoons.

But Rich showed maturity beyond his years to make the smoothest of transitions into senior football, earning comparisons with his coach Voss from TV commentator and Collingwood premiership skipper Tony Shaw.

"He probably did (exceed expectations). It was a great reward for him, " Voss said.

"His work ethic was what probably most impressed me."

Sensing the growing hype around the exciting youngster, Voss then delivered what sounded like a reality check for the teenager.

"It looks great with the ball in your hands, but if you don't have the right work-rate, the right attitude and you don't do the right things, then you don't get a game," he said.

"His reward is for putting the work in and getting the best out of himself.

"But it's round one, he's 18 and we really want to step it up. It's about consistency.

"We obviously need more over the course of a whole year."

Rich helped keep the Lions in the game in the second quarter, setting up goals to captain Jonathan Brown and Travis Johnstone with his booming left boot.

His brilliant tackle on midfielder Matt Rosa early in the third term set up another and by the final break, the Lions had turned a 38-point second quarter deficit into a 16-point lead.

Rich said it was a bit "surreal" making his debut against the team he was once barracked for.

"Once I had run across the white line it was just another team," Rich said.

"I am a Lion through and through now.

"It's been a dream (to play AFL) since I was a young tacker so to finally get out there was incredible.

"I couldn't be happier coming to Brisbane. It's a great place, great club with a great future - I love being here." Rich showed remarkable poise considering a huge pre-match build-up which included a guernsey presentation by Ashcroft.

"I know Marcus was a great player for the club, he holds the games record (318) , so it was a privilege to wear the jumper so far, but I have got a long way to go," Rich said.

"He presented the jumper early in the week, and he said if I ever wanted to catch up I could so that was nice."

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