Tom Fullarton has joined the Brisbane Lions. Picture: Peter Wallis
Tom Fullarton has joined the Brisbane Lions. Picture: Peter Wallis

Lions top Bullets in battle for young star

THE Brisbane Lions have triumphed over the Brisbane Bullets in a cross-sport tug-o-war for talented basketballer Tom Fullarton.

Fullarton, 19, was elevated to the Bullets' 11-man roster for the 2018-19 NBL season after serving as a development player with Brisbane last season.

But the Sunshine Coast product is expected to sign a Category B rookie contract with the Lions that will allow him to join the AFL club this week and avoid going into the draft.

The 200cm-tall Fullarton has a strong background in Australian football and was an All-Australian under-15 selection.

He was in the Brisbane Lions Academy and played his junior football at the Caloundra Panthers.

Apart from his height, Fullarton's athleticism and skill level have had him earmarked as a key position player.

Tom Fullarton dunks in a game for Brisbane.
Tom Fullarton dunks in a game for Brisbane.

The Lions have had a very close eye on Fullarton ever since as he shelved football more than three years ago and travelled along basketball's elite pathways.

Fullarton has been a mainstay of Australian and Queensland under-age basketball teams and was captain of the Australian side at the under-17 World Cup in 2016.

He also attended the AIS-Centre of Excellence where he worked under Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis.

Fullarton was set to get more court time in the 2018-19 NBL season as the team's back-up small forward behind a yet-to-be signed American import.

As a Category B rookie, he can play in the NEAFL as soon as this season but will need to do a mini pre-season with Brisbane to physically prepare for senior football.

The Lions are stockpiling an impressive arsenal of home-grown tall timber.

Fullarton will join fellow Caloundra Panthers junior Eric Hipwood at Brisbane who also have Harris Andrews as a key position bookend.

Hipwood and Andrews were two of Brisbane's best in the win over Hawthorn on Sunday.