Only one thing was missing from Brisbane’s breakthrough AFL win against St Kilda for rising star nominee James Aish: his parents watching from the stands.
For five weeks James Aish’s parents travelled across Australia desperate to witness their son’s first AFL victory.
Sadly all those frequent flyer miles didn’t turn into competition points – Aish’s Brisbane Lions lost their opening five fixtures.
That run was broken last weekend with Aish delivering a performance good enough to earn the rising star nomination for round six as the Lions beat St Kilda in Wellington.
Sadly, the trip to New Zealand was one too many for Aish’s parents, who weren’t in the stands to witness their son’s first win as an AFL player.
Not that the 18-year-old is drawing any correlation between their absence and the turnaround in fortune for the Lions.
“They love it,” he said.
“They’re disappointed they missed this one but they’ll be up again soon, hopefully we can get a win with them there.”
After being chosen as the Lions top pick at No.7 in last year’s draft, Aish has wasted no time settling into his new club.
An ever-present for the Lions, the midfielder achieved a career-high 25 disposals in the three-point win over the Saints and booted the second goal of his brief career.
He says the Lions’ young list and the mentoring of Lions great Simon Black has played a key part in his adjustment to senior football.
He also believes his experience in winning two SANFL premierships with Norwood before joining the Lions ensured he was physically and mentally prepared.
“It’s probably the best initiation a junior player can have,” he said.
“I was able to play with listed players and train with them and play against them as well. I learnt a little bit of what it takes and how those guys do it which definitely helped.”
In other news, young forward Michael Close has signed a new three-year deal with the Lions.
Close, 19, will now stay at the Gabba until the end of the 2017 season.