Lions forward strives to make more of an impact
Eric Hipwood established himself as one of the stars of the game last year, but the Lions young gun believes he had some "really poor games" and he's determined to become a more reliable teammate in 2020.
The 22-year-old from Caloundra, who is on the Sunshine Coast with teammates for a Community Camp, is regarded as one of the top players at Brisbane.
The 203cm forward helped them to a breakthrough finals appearance in his fourth season, booting 35 goals, averaging five marks per game and making twice as many tackles (42) than the previous year.
He was rewarded with a four-year contract extension.
But Hipwood said there's plenty of work to do.
"Last year I had some really good games but then a few weeks later I'd have a really, really poor game."
"So, I'm just trying to find that consistency. I'm trying to make my best game and my worst games, on that scale, a little bit smaller so that my teammates get an idea of how I'm going to play week to week.
"It can be tough as a key forward, but you see the better players do it week in and week out so hopefully I can improve my consistency."
He's honing his goal kicking, to help with that.
"Throughout the entire pre-season I've been working on my set shot routine as it was pretty poor last year."
That Hipwood, who was fifth in the voting among Lions players for the Brownlow Medal, is demanding more from himself is a measure of his, and the team's, drive for success.
They're determined to press strong claims for the flag this year, after reaching the semi-finals last year.
"I feel like the boys have come back with a real hunger to go a few steps further," Hipwood said.
"A lot of our players hadn't had exposure to any finals experience.
"So, to get that experience, at a young age for a lot of our players, is very invaluable and it will hold us in good stead for this year and years to come."
A host of Lions are on the Sunshine Coast as part of their Community Camp.
Captain Dayne Zorko, Jarrod Berry, Grant Birchall, Charlie Cameron, Deven Roberston, Oscar McInerney, Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, Corey Lyons, Stefan Martin, Jaxon Prior, Rhys Mathieson and Sunshine Coasters Hipwood, Jack Payne and Tom Fullerton visited local Sunshine Coast schools and AFL clubs yesterday and today.
Paul Tresise, AFL Queensland Regional Manager- Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay, said the camp provided the perfect platform for fans to access the game and the players.
"AFL Community Camps provide an opportunity to encourage younger players to get involved in the game by promoting participation programs such as NAB AFL Auskick, Junior Football and school programs."