TOP 5s | 2024 Preseason Testing – Suns & Lions Academies

TWO potential pick ones over the next two years showed their athletic abilities in the recent Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions Academies Preseason Testing Day. Taking to the courts at Brisbane South State Secondary College on February 18, the Under 18s and Under 16s squads were put through their paces.

>> Top 5s | 2024 Preseason Testing – Lions & Suns Academies (Boys)

Bottom-age star Ava Usher caught the eye the most at the preseason testing, clocking a blistering time of 3.12 seconds in the preseason – the fastest thus far – as well as a top agility score of 8.551 seconds. That was enough to see clear air to the next competitor, though double bottom-ager and top Lions prospect for 2026, Mia Geere topped her Academy’s agility test with 8.635 seconds.

As a whole, the Lions tested better than the Suns in agility, but the Suns had them in the sprints and yo-yo. The vertical jumps – both standing and running – were split evenly between the two Queensland Academies.

Other notable performers were Suns Academy Payton Heyward who is incredibly a December 2009-born player which means she only turned 14 two months ago. She recorded the best yo-yo time of the event, with notable Suns talents Heidi Talbot and Mikayla Nurse among four players just two levels behind.

Two other players joined Usher with sub-3.2-second 20m sprint times, as the explosive speedsters of Grace Ella and Nyalli Milne managing 3.174 and 3.19 seconds respectively. Perhaps the 180cm Harris’ 3.231 seconds in the same test was the most impressive if factoring in height.

In the vertical jumps, Lions Academy’s Farrandai Hopkins finished equal first in the standing test, reaching 58cm alongside Suns Academy top-ager Alicia Gordon. Lataya De Pauw (Lions Academy) recorded top five finishes in both the standing and running vertical jumps, while Harlee McIlwain (69cm) just fell short of Harris’ 70cm running vertical score with an impressive 69cm.

Havana Harris took out the running vertical jump and finished top 5 in the 20m sprint. Image credit: Rookie Me Central



=1. Alicia Gordon (Suns Academy) – 58cm
=1. Farrandai Hopkins (Lions Academy) – 58cm
=3. Lataya De Pauw (Lions Academy) – 54cm
=3. Kaiya Hides (Lions Academy) – 54cm
=3. Andria Heard (Suns Acadmey) – 54cm


1. Havana Harris (Suns Academy) – 70cm
2. Harlee McIlwain (Lions Academy) – 69cm
3. Mabel Dart (Lions Academy) – 68cm
=4. Lataya De Pauw (Lions Academy) – 67cm
=4. Tara Nieass (Suns Academy) – 67cm


1. Ava Usher (Suns Academy) – 3.12 seconds
2. Grace Ella (Suns Academy) – 3.174 seconds
3. Nyalli Milne (Suns Academy) – 3.19 seconds
4. Havana Harris (Suns Academy) – 3.231 seconds
5. Amelia Ella (Suns Academy) – 3.235 seconds


1. Ava Usher (Suns Academy) – 8.551 seconds
2. Mia Geere (Lions Academy) – 8.635 seconds
3. Kameryn Bray (Lions Academy) – 8.637 seconds
=4. Poppy Tindal (Lions Academy) – 8.687 seconds
=4. Kaiya Hides (Lions Academy) – 8.687 seconds


1. Payton Heyward (Suns Academy) – 16.07 level
=2. Bronte Parker (Suns Academy) – 16.05 level
=2. Heidi Talbot (Suns Academy) – 16.05 level
=2. Mikayla Nurse (Suns Academy) – 16.05 level
=2. Stella Scott (Lions Academy) – 16.05 level

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