Fagan likens Rayner to De Goey, Cyril
Chris Fagan has offered up the early years of Jordan De Goey and Cyril Rioli's careers as comparisons for the progress of bulldozing teen Cam Rayner.
The Lions coach admitted he was "sticking up for my player" by name dropping two of the most dangerous forwards of modern times.
If the 19-year-old develops along similar lines he is going to be a star.
Fagan was responding to a question about Rayner's performance in what most saw as a return to form for the No.1 draft pick in the QClash.
In a first half where Brisbane's woeful conversion was keeping the Suns in the contest Rayner was a standout.
The scoreboard read 2.6 when he kicked his first and 2.8 when he nailed his second.
He added a third later in the game when the result was beyond doubt to complete his best performance this season.
But Fagan was adamant his form has been good all along and says he should be judged purely as a forward as his midfield minutes were still minor.
"It is interesting and he is a bit of a talking point at the moment I have noticed,'' he said.
"I think this year he has kicked about 10.10, he has had 20 shots and we have played six games so he is getting three shots a game and a couple of tackles and a couple of score involvements.
"So if you compare him to Jordan De Goey (Collingwood) who is a little bit older their numbers aren't that dissimilar.
"Cam is playing mostly as a forward for us and that is what we should judge him on and those guys don't get that many opportunities, so from our perspective he is doing a good job.''
Rayner finished with 3.1 from 10 possessions and laid one crucial tackle which earned him a free kick and goal.
"I loved the tackle he did and he went back and kicked the goal so that was an important tackle,'' Fagan said.
"His game will grow.''
Fagan then went one step further when he claimed he was tracking the same as four-time Hawthorn premiership star Rioli who is considered one of the greatest small forwards of all time.
Rioli averaged 1.5 goals a game across his 189 game ten year career but AFL statisticians Champion Data also ranked him 1 for run down tackles, third for tackles inside the forward fifty and two for score assists.
"Cyril in his first couple of years of footy averaged about 12 touches and a goal and a half a game and he is a superstar and if you look at his career statistics they are not much better than that,'' he said.
"Where he is little bit ahead of Cam at the moment is just on pressure but hopefully we will keep working on that.''