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Sunday 20 January 2019

Hanley looks for green light to face Aussies

BRISBANE LIONS' Irish star Pearce Hanley has declared himself and fit available for this year's International Rules series in Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

The former Gaelic footballer earned the tag of Ireland's best AFL player this year playing every game for the Queensland based club while being named in the side's best performers alongside legendary Lions like Simon Black on a regular basis.

"I've pulled up well from the season and I'm ready to go," Hanley said.

"I'd love to play so if the Irish lads give me a call I'm definitely up for it."

Despite a successful year for the 22-year-old, he said he is still hoping for improvement in his game next season. He had a season high of 30 possessions against Geelong in round 17 and came joint fourth in the club's Best and Fairest.

"It was a good year but there are still a lot of things that I'd like to improve on. There are still a lot of flaws in my game. Hopefully next year will be an even better game."

The Mayo man has spent a good part of the year playing alongside his compatriot Niall McKeever in defence. The pair just missed out on being the first Irish players to play together since Jim Stynes and Seán Wight, instead pipped at the post but the Blues brigade of Setanta ó hAilpín and Zach Tuohy in round 11.

However he's hoping to play a bigger role in midfield next year.

"I don't think the coach ever expected to have two Irish players in defence together. It was great to get to play alongside Niall this year. He did really well."

Hanley is yet to pen his contract with the club but insists it's just a matter of negotiating the finer details and despite being hot property and receiving interest from other clubs, he will be at the Lions next year.

"I'm leaving it all to my manager but I'm sure it will all be done soon. I love Brisbane and that's where I want to be," said the Mayo native.

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