In the name of the father, Schache officially a Lion

Josh Schache takes a mark during the TAC Cup Semi Final match between the Murray Bushrangers and the Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park in Melbourne. Photo: Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images
Josh Schache takes a mark during the TAC Cup Semi Final match between the Murray Bushrangers and the Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park in Melbourne. Photo: Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images

You couldn't help but think fate had intervened to deliver Josh Schache to the Brisbane Lions.

After a sensational national under-18 championships campaign, in which he kicked a record 24 goals for Vic Country and won the Larke Medal as the carnival's best player, Schache had been pegged as the No.1 pick in this year's National Draft.

And, in turn, he appeared destined to indeed follow in the footsteps of his late father, Laurence, and play for Brisbane, which was anchored to the bottom of the ladder.

However, when the Lions upset the finals-bound Western Bulldogs in the last round, pushing them past Carlton on the table, it was thought they had shot themselves in the foot.

Fortunately, for all those wanting a fairytale finish, another kid named Jacob Weitering would prove too good an asset to pass up and the Blues selected the key defender as the top draft pick at the Adelaide Convention Centre last night.

It would leave the Lions to pounce on Schache, whose dad spent two seasons with Brisbane in 1991-1992, when known as the Bears, and who had sadly passed away at the age of just 34 due to a rare heart condition, cardio amyloidosis.

Then only five, young Schache was with his father at the time he collapsed at the family home in Adelaide. They had been sitting on the couch, watching TV, before his dad went to leave the room. Schache says it is still his most vivid memory.

Speaking to APN yesterday after the first of what will be many press conferences during his career, Schache said there had always been a "link with Brisbane and maybe having the opportunity to go up there if it all works out".

Laurence played just 29 games for the Bears as a full-forward, but had his moments, such as kicking six goals in a match against Adelaide.

"It's very exciting just to be able to represent the club that my dad played for," Schache said.

Schache spoke about "how your life can change pretty quickly". He knows all about that - both in a negative way early on and now in a positive one.

A down-to-earth country lad who's spent the last few years living in Seymour, just north of Melbourne, and playing for the Murray Bushrangers in the elite TAC Cup competition, he's taken all the extra attention both his skills and his family story have brought in his stride.

On top of footy commitments has been the task of completing Year 12.

"I think after the (national) championships, that's when it really started to kick in," he said.

"It was pretty challenging at first. But, being through the (AIS-AFL) academy program, being part of it for a few years now leading into Year 12, I think I gained a few skills in organisation. I think I've handled it pretty well.

"You definitely see it as a bit more pressure on school work with footy as well. But, it's about making sure you make the most of all the time you've got and not wasting any of it."

He says his mum, Rachel, who has remarried, has understandably been a constant source of support. "I couldn't have done it without her and the whole family ... I can't explain how much they've done for us," he said.

The 18-year-old, who stands 199cm and already weighs 96kg, will now be taken under the wing of Lions welfare manager Craig Lambert and head coach Justin Leppitsch and given time to grow at the elite level.

"I've heard it's pretty good up there, so I'm very excited to see what happens," he said.

The Blues were happy to welcome fellow Victorian Weitering, who shows significant leadership qualities, and follows recent No.1s Patrick McCartin (2014) and Tom Boyd (2013).

Melbourne had pick three, but the Demons' bid for Sydney Academy product Callum Mills was matched by the Swans.

 

TOP PICKS

1. Jacob Weitering (Carl)

2. Josh Schache (BL)

3. Callum Mills (Syd)

4. Clayton Oliver (Melb)

5. Darcy Parish (Ess)

6. Aaron Francis (Ess)

7. Jacob Hopper (GWS)

8. Callum Ah Chee (GC)



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