Busselton product James Tunstill to make AFL debut for Brisbane Lions against Melbourne Demons

Samantha RogersThe West Australian
James Tunstill.
Camera IconJames Tunstill. Credit: Brisbane Lions

Brisbane Lions young gun James Tunstill will make his AFL debut on Thursday night against Melbourne in a ‘baptism of fire’, according to Lions coach Chris Fagan.

The 18-year-old will face one of the toughest tests in footy - the reigning premiers at the MCG - in his very first outing at the top level, and his former club East Perth couldn’t be happier for the “ripping young man”.

“He’s no doubt going to be nervous,” Royals Talent Manager Aaron Ballantyne said. “I think we’ll be nervous just watching him!”

Having the support of fellow East Perth product Brandon Starcevich will help the midfielder settle his nerves going into the top-of-the-table, blockbuster clash - according to Ballantyne.

He said it was a credit to the 18-year-old, who would drive up from Busselton to play for the club’s WAFL colts side every weekend, that he’s already got the opportunity to play AFL footy.

“As good as his football is, he’s an even better person,” Ballantyne said.

“(We’re) extremely proud of him. He’s a hard-working kid and the sacrifices that he made in his colts year to come up (to Perth) was unbelievable.

James Tunstill will make his debut on Thursday night after being drafted from East Perth.
Camera IconJames Tunstill will make his debut on Thursday night after being drafted from East Perth. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

“Travelling every week to play was a huge commitment.”

Asked what footy fans can expect from Tunstill, who earned his call-up playing on the wing for the Lions’ reserves side, Ballantyne listed an armoury of positive traits.

“He’s very clean around the contest; he’s got very good hands. He kicks the ball nicely; he’s a very smooth mover with his running ability,” Ballantyne said.

“He takes a good mark, and the best thing about Jimmy is that he pushes forward and hits the scoreboard as well.”

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