The Future is Bright For Lions Youngster

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Never in Jaspa Fletcher’s wildest dreams did he imagine he would be playing in an AFL Grand Final in his first year in the game.

Drafted with Pick #12 in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft, the Father-Son product oozed class in his junior years with his ability to hit targets cleanly, combined with his impressive aerobic capacity.

But things did not go smoothly when his name was read out on draft night.

A hampered preparation due to stress fractures in his back led to a delayed start, with the 19-year-old having to bide his time through the VFL in the first half of the season.

As is the case for most youngsters, doubters questioned Fletcher’s readiness when his debut was announced in Round 14 against Sydney, but those voices were quickly suppressed.

In front of a sold-out Gabba crowd, Fletcher showed the promise recruiters had seen in him.

13 disposals and an impressive goal in his side’s victory over Sydney were all it took for ‘Fletch’ to become a crowd favourite.

The son of a gun earned himself a Rising Star nomination in Round 19 after a 19-point, eight-point performance at Geelong, but it was his qualifying final against Port that really turned heads around the competition.

In his first AFL final and only his twelfth appearance at this level, Fletcher was arguably the best on the ground with an incredible three goals, 16 touches and eight points.

It’s hard to believe that Jaspa is now entering only his second AFL season with three finals matches to his name and a maturity and composure rarely found in players his age.

Alongside his housemate Will Ashcroft and young larrikin Darcy Wilmot, Lions fans should be excited about what the ‘Cubs’ have to offer, and there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes waiting for their opportunity.

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