Alex Witherden has heaped an enormous amount of adulation on Brisbane recruit Luke Hodge.
The 33-year-old Hodge performed a sensational aboutface when in October he opted to prematurely cut short his retirement to join the Lions.
Following a savagely successful career with Hawthorn, which was highlighted by four premierships, former Hawks skipper Hodge made the massive leap from Victoria to Queensland to continue his playing days at the top level.
With the pre-season humming along, young gun Witherden spoke about the colossal impact Hodge has already had on the youthful Lions list.
“It’s pretty hard to put into words what he brings to the group and what I’ve learnt from him in his first two and a half months at the footy club,” Witherden said on Sportsday QLD.
“He’s just got a wealth of knowledge and leadership and experience that he brings.
“He’s helped elevate the level of training standards, the way we watch vision, just the way we approach training, everything.
“I’ve felt since he came to the club everything has gone up a level or two.
“He’s had a huge say in the way we want to play. He’s just been huge and Lions will notice the difference of the playing group with him out there.”
Witherden also gave some insight into number one draft pick Cameron Rayner which is sure to excite Lions fans.
“He’s one of the strongest at the footy club already through his legs,” he added.
“He’s got real power and explosiveness. He’s already really hard to tackle, he’s tough, he’s good below his knees, he can take marks and kick goals.
“I think we will see him playing very early in the season, if not Round 1.
“He’ll be a superstar of the competition.”
Listen to Witherden on Sportsday QLD below: