DARCY Gardiner was "shattered" for Jack Payne to miss the preliminary final and says he has no qualms waiting until the last minute to learn his selection fate ahead of Saturday's decider against Collingwood.
Gardiner was among a host of Lions heroes against the Blues on Saturday night, keeping dual Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow to just one goal after being brought in to replace the injured Payne.
Following his team's 16-point triumph, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said he would give Payne every chance to overcome his ankle problem and put his hand up for selection.
Speaking to AFL.com.au, Gardiner said he would not be fazed by the uncertainty ahead.
"I was shattered for Payney this week," he said.
"He's been there all year and a big reason we've got to this point.
"Like the last couple of weeks, I'll keep ticking boxes, get through the week and whatever way it falls it will fall.
"We're a massive squad and that's what it takes to get to a Grand Final, so I'll take it as it comes."
Gardiner has been dogged by his own injury woes this year, playing just two senior games before some continuity in the VFL at the back end of the season.
He was magnificent on Curnow, matching him stride for stride in most contests and giving the Carlton spearhead little room to breathe.
Fagan said he was not surprised by Gardiner's performance.
"He played really well in the finals last year for us and he's been patiently waiting for his opportunity," Fagan said.
"He's a really experienced player and he's an outright competitor.
"I'm really pleased for him. He didn't let us down and I knew he wouldn't."
Gardiner, who celebrated his 28th birthday last Friday, has played 157 games since being drafted by the Lions in late 2013 and said it was his backline teammates who made things easier against the Blues.
"We've got a good defensive system down there.
"We like to come off and help a bit more … we just back each other in to support and help and it definitely made my job a lot easier. It got me out of jail a few times."