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Thursday, April 27 2017 @ 03:05 AM ACST

Younger Hanley Makes Lions Debut

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Cian Hanley had all the ingredients to obtain anonymity. Having been recruited by the Brisbane Lions as an international rookie in 2014, the younger brother of new Gold Coast Suns recruit, Pearce Hanley, has endured injury and media attention directed towards his brother after his trade to the Gold Coast Suns last year.

In some ways he has been the forgotten Lion, but his quiet determination to overcome injury and chase the same dream as his brother has been agonisingly long but impressively tenacious. Having to overcome a serious ACL injury, then ongoing groin problems, Hanley has done it tough since joining the club from a Gaelic Football background for Country Mayo. On the weekend, Cian Hanley lined up for the Brisbane Lions in their final NEAFL practice match against the Gold Coast Suns.

Hanley ran out onto the field wearing the Lions’ number eleven jumper vacated by his brother when he left for the Suns. According to the NEAFL website report on the match, “Cian Hanley too was playing his first game for the Lions, but unlike Berry, is no stranger to the Lions.”

“The Irishman has been on the list since 2014 when he was picked up as an international rookie, but persistent injuries have kept him from ever taking the field.”

“It was his first ever game of Australian Rules football, but Hanley’s performance certainly wouldn’t have suggested as much. Like his brother, ex-Lion turned Sun, Pearce Hanley, speed was his key attribute, setting up plenty of scoring opportunities for the away side as a result.”

It continues a long, long journey for the younger Hanley, but his performance vindicates the Lions’ faith in him. On the other side of that coin, Hanley has done all in his immediate power to repay the faith the Lions have shown.

For the record, the Gold Coast Suns downed the Brisbane Lions by 37 points at Metricon Stadium. It remains to be seen whether Cian Hanley is chosen by the Lions for their Round One clash next weekend against the Sydney Swans at the South Pine Sporting Complex in Brisbane, but Hanley’s performance has propelled him firmly into selection calculations and a chance to take his AFL journey another significant step further.

Picture: Brisbane Lions website
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