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Lions rookie will return to Reville in opportunity to debut

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Bruce Reville’s long-awaited dream of playing in the AFL will come true on Sunday night when the 23-year-old rookie makes his debut against the Gold Coast SUNS.

Bruce Reville’s long-awaited dream of playing in the AFL will come true on Sunday night when the 23-year-old rookie makes his debut against the Gold Coast SUNS.

The highly anticipated QClash 26 will be extra special for the Lions Academy graduate, who will play his first AFL match in front of a home crowd at The Gabba.

Born in Papua New Guinea, Reville grew up in Cairns until he was seven, before moving to Burrum Heads, where he played under 9 for the Burrum Joeys.

He was then youth football for the Maryborough Bears before officially joining the Lions’ AFL program as a Category B rookie on a one-year contract at the end of 2023.

Before that, the utility man was one of Brisbane’s best regular players in the VFL since going undrafted in 2019.

However, when it came time to find out he would make his debut, Reville admitted that he initially missed the call from coach Chris Fagan before calling again.

“When Fages (Chris Fagan) told me he was playing I couldn’t get any words out for a moment, I was excited and happy about it,” Reville said.

“I guess in a way I feel relieved to have finally made it, it’s quite emotional actually.

“A lot has happened to get to this point, from working multiple jobs and making a lot of sacrifices for myself and my partner to try to pursue a career in the AFL.”

Those jobs included shifts cutting meat at a local slaughterhouse, driving a forklift at Bunnings and delivering packages at Christmas to earn extra money.

Reville’s story reads a little like that of a typical Hollywood underdog movie, and fortunately for the 23-year-old, it includes triumph.

“There were a lot of days when you had a lot of time to sit and think, and the last thing you wanted to do was cut meat or drive a forklift,” Reville admitted.

“I think that’s why I worked so hard to get to this position because I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do in life.

“I also worked a bit in diesel mechanics, something I wanted to pursue as a career, but put it aside to focus on football.”

Having that opportunity to focus solely on football has seen Reville continue to develop and become a standout player for the Lions in the VFL.

Reville said he now wants to repay the faith shown in him.

“I’m not setting expectations for myself, I will go out fulfilling my role, contributing my strengths to the team and I will continue doing what has worked for me,” he said.

“There are a lot of quality players around me, so I just want to be a sponge and take advantage of everything I can from them and keep learning and improving.”

One thing that makes Reville so attractive to Fagan and the Lions playing committee is his ability to play multiple positions.

A silky player with a penetrating kick, Reville has spent much of his career playing in midfield, although he is a dangerous striker who can also play in defence.

Brisbane Lions general manager of football Danny Daly said he was delighted to see Reville rewarded.

“Bruce Reville’s journey is one of those great football stories that any aspiring AFL player or anyone chasing their dream should see,” Daly said.

“Bruce spent the best part of seven years at our Brisbane Lions Academy and played at VFL level, where he continued to persist and want to improve.

“It was such a great feeling when we offered him a place on our AFL list at the end of last year and now to tell him he will be making his debut is really special for him and his family.

“He has done all the hard work to earn this opportunity and everyone at the Club is looking forward to seeing him make his debut on Sunday night.”