Reality television recruit to make AFL debut

Brisbane Lions have confirmed former reality television show contestant Matt Eagles will make his AFL debut against Collingwood on Sunday.

Matt Eagles, winner of the second season of The Recruit, will play his first AFL game on Sunday.

Eagles, 28, was named on the Lions' extended bench on Thursday but on Friday the club announced the winner of 2016's AFL talent search The Recruit would get his chance at senior level.

The 200-centimetre defender spent 2017 in the NEAFL after being granted a rookie spot on the Lions' list for winning the reality television show's second season.

His stunning performance in the 2017 NEAFL grand final – where he amassed 17 intercept possessions and eight intercept marks – went a long way to earning the Adelaide-born former miner another contract in 2018.

He has started 2018 in similar form and Lions' coach Chris Fagan has rewarded those performances, which he said came off the back of hard work and plenty of improvement.

"I can remember you at our first training session because it was my first training session to," Fagan told Eagles in a video released on the club website.

"And I lost count of how many times the ball went through your hands and hit you in the head and how you couldn't hit the side of a barn with your kicks … and I'm thinking, 'Oh this is going to be a bit of a journey'.

"But to your credit you've worked so hard at your game both with your skills but also with the way you've learnt to look after your body. You're an incredible dedicated player at this club.

"Welcome to AFL footy at the ripe old age of 28."

Eagles told his teammates he was honoured to become an AFL player.

"Obviously the journey has been a roller-coaster, coming from a different pathway but I'd like to just take the time to thank everyone involved in the journey.

"I'm just really proud to put the jumper on."

Eagles' rise to the AFL is the opposite of Johann Wagner, who became a rookie at Port Adelaide after winning the first series of The Recruit.

Wagner was delisted after one season, not playing an AFL game, and later admitted he felt like an outsider at the Power.

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