Leagues: Under 18s Championships, NAB League Boys
SNAPSHOT: “A crafty medium forward who fares well both aerially and at ground level, having shown glimpses across an injury-interrupted season.”
Fighting adversity to put his name in the draft conversation, Shadeau Brain has proven memorable by name and nature in 2022. The Brisbane Lions Academy prospect earned a National Combine invitation off glimpses of promise, despite ending the season in a sling on the back of shoulder surgery.
After a disrupted preseason, Brain only managed a couple of Lions Academy outings before linking with Noosa in the QAFL Seniors, and eventually turning out for the Allies’ last three games. He capped off his season with a trio of VFL appearances, but had it end early in Noosa’s second-last regular season game.
+ Aerial ability
+ Footy IQ
+ Forward craft
- Limited exposure
A valuable talent as far as forwards go, Brain's ability to impact both in the air and at ground level at 185cm makes him a dangerous asset. He has the athleticism to spring vertically and shift sharply across the ground, which works well in combination with sound smarts in scoring situations.
While a relatively steady goalkicker himself, Brain has the capacity to get involved in many a scoring chain. He averaged six, and nearly five in his three VFL and National Championship games respectively, showcasing terrific forward craft and a sense of awareness suited to the role.
A low-possession but high-impact player by his own estimation, the Lions Academy talent lived up to that billing to produce one of his most impressive games on the big stage. The Allies were hunting their first win of the Under 18 carnival, and Brain's two late goals sealed victory over Western Australia in dramatic fashion.
For all his x-factor and natural nous, Brain has a few improvement areas. The childhood Collingwood fan is looking to add composure to his game akin to the likes of Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom, allowing his mind to work as quickly as he moves. That will help his skills, particularly kicking, become more consistent.
He has also crammed a whole lot of high-end experience into a short sample size this year, putting together a relative highlight reel compared to the extensive tape of other prospects. That works in his favour to a degree, but clubs other than Brisbane may need a greater taste to take a chance on a prospect with such promise.
DRAFT RANGE: Late/Rookie
As per the analysis on Brain, question marks over exposure and durability after an injury impacted top-age campaign may pop up. Though, in his time on-field, the Lions Academy product has done plenty to pique the interest of other clubs – as a National Combine invite would suggest. With Brisbane in line to match early bids on Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher, a club could look to poach Brain late in the national intake, otherwise he may suit a rookie spot on Brisbane’s list.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships