Life as midfielder looms on the horizon for Green

JOSH Green knows he needs to find the balance between his love of being an elusive goalsneak with the need to develop into more of a "running machine" as his career develops.

The 21-year-old from Clarence has been given a glimpse of life as a midfielder, getting up close and personal to the likes of Hawthorn premiership players Sam Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne during the NAB Challenge.

Known for his speed around goals, the plan is to eventually use that pace around the stoppages.

"I'm fairly happy [with my preseason] as I've set some running PBs, which is a good start as I'm trying to push into that midfield role, and in the games I've been fairly consistent in that small forward role," Green told The Examiner.

"As a junior I was a midfielder, so that's what they drafted me as. At the moment, they are just grooming me towards that, giving me five or 10 minutes each quarter to give me some experience in there, which has been really handy.

"At the same time, I do really enjoy playing that small forward role and kicking goals, but it is just giving me a taste of it and when some of the older guys get to the end of their careers over the next couple of years, I want to get to that point where I can run out four quarters in the middle."

The 32nd pick in the 2010 draft, Green is aiming for a consistent season after, in his own words, last year was anything but.

"I was inconsistent, starting off slow and had to learn to work over my opponent a bit better," said Green, who kicked 24 goals in 17 games.

"I finished the year off really strongly though, as the team did [it won seven of its past 10 games], so my form was pretty much the same as the team's - slow at the start, but I finished off strongly.

"I have to prove now that I can play a full year of consistent football, as I've had a couple of years which have been quite inconsistent, but I'll never get too comfortable, as I know I have a long way to go."

Green, who is rated by Champion Data as an "above average goal scorer for a general forward", was third at the Lions last year for scoreboard impact.

He averaged the second-most forward- half pressure acts at the club, proving he is as attacking as he is defensive.

Green has played 34 games but none in his home state at Aurora Stadium, something he is hoping to rectify next Saturday when Brisbane faces reigning premier Hawthorn.

"It would be a huge honour to go down and play in my home state in front of family and friends," Green said.

"Also, to play round 1 against the Hawks, who I supported as a kid would be a great honour, so I will be hoping that Leppa [new coach Justin Leppitsch] picks me.

"I played there a bit as a Tassie Mariner and it was a really good ground then, and hopefully still is."

Green said the Lions, who may or may not have the services of former skipper Jonathan Brown, said control of the ball against the Hawks would be vital.

A very young Brisbane side has already felt the wrath of Alastair Clarkson's men this year, going down by 131 points in the opening round of the NAB Challenge.

But despite some external criticism, on the back of an exodus of senior players and Michael Voss being replaced as coach, the Tasmanian said things were positive at the club ahead of another Hawthorn challenge.

"We took a lot away from that game, especially how well they use the footy and how everyone plays their role," he said.

"It will be a tough game, but we believe our game plan can hold up against the best.

"So we'll have to go down there and try to implement it properly, we have the confidence we can push them and hopefully beat them.

"You can't give them any time with the football, as they have elite users all over the ground, so if you can hold them up and force them to kick down the line a bit, that's where you can beat them.

"If our pressure is at A-grade standard, we can force them to turn it over and use our foot skills, which we have been working on a lot."

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