Despite leaving behind his famous football family in South Australia, AFL draft No.7 pick James Aish insists Brisbane feels like a home away from home.
On paper, he looked like a potential victim of the Brisbane Lions’ recent bout of homesickness.
But No.7 AFL draft pick James Aish insists the Lions den already feels like a home away from home despite leaving behind his famous footballing family in South Australia.
Brisbane have thrown out the welcome mat to Aish and fellow draftees Darcy Gardiner, Daniel McStay, Lewis Taylor, Tom Cutler and Nick Robertson in a bid to bond before the team has its Christmas break.
The Lions are keen to avoid a repeat of this year’s trade period exodus in which Billy Longer (St Kilda), Patrick Karnezis (Collingwood), Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Sam Docherty (Carlton) and Jared Polec (Port Adelaide) all returned to their home states.
And Aish, 19, has strong ties to SA, particularly SANFL heavyweights Norwood.
His father Andrew played for SA and Norwood.
His uncle Michael is a SA Hall of Famer, state captain and a 307-game Norwood legend who won the state’s highest individual honour, the Magarey Medal.
And his grandfather Peter also played state football and captained Norwood before taking up the club’s coaching reins.
Oh, and teenager Aish won two premierships in as many years with Norwood after he became the youngest player in 134 years to make his debut for the club at 16.
Aish said his SA football upbringing would help him settle into the Lions environment.
“Norwood build a very strong culture – hopefully that gave me a taste of what a successful environment is like. Their professional standards should keep me in good stead here,” Aish said on Wednesday.
“I have played against men for two years and trained with men and AFL listed players, so I think that has given me a pretty good insight into what the AFL entails.”
Aish had looked set to be snapped up by Collingwood at last week’s draft before surprisingly dropping to No.7 pick – and into Brisbane’s lap.
He said he had already accepted he would be plying his trade away from SA next year.
“I am sure any excuse (my family) will be up here for a holiday and hopefully to watch me play.
“I am sure everyone gets homesick.
“But I am pretty confident I will be happy here.
“It seems like a good group. Success should be just around the corner.”