BRISBANE Lions midfield hunter Rhys Mathieson has worked on plenty this pre-season, and he's picking the brains of one of the game's best to help him. 

In a dreadful 2016 season for his new club, Mathieson was an under-rated shining light, playing 11 games, including the last nine.

His flailing mop of hair and ability to win free kicks for high contact might have antagonised opponents and their fans, but it also masked a very good debut season. 

Mathieson, who recently turned 20, averaged 18 disposals in a struggling midfield, with more than half of them contested.

That's his forte, diving to the feet of packs seemingly without a care for his welfare and popping up with the ball.

His instincts to win the hard ball are there, but Mathieson says one pre-season under new coach Chris Fagan has been enough to teach him there's plenty more to work on.

"For me, it's just my transition defensive running," Mathieson told 

"I spit forward a lot when we've got the ball, as all players do, but it's just snapping from offence to defence for me. 

"It's a mindset thing and that's my main thing to work on this season. 

"I do a lot of bulk work inside rather than outside, so I'm a bit sluggish coming off the contest. 

"It's a bit of both (fitness and mindset), but mainly snapping my mindset." 

To help his progression, Mathieson went to Dayne Beams to get some help. 

And it was a demand more than an enquiry of the Collingwood premiership player, All Australian and two-time best and fairest. 

"He's an inside mid and I want to model my game off his," Mathieson said.

"I spent a bit of time in rehab with him last year when I broke my cheekbone and we built a good relationship. 

"On the training track he came across as a mentor and I put it on him and said "mate, you're going to be my mentor, whether you like it or not, you're going to have to do it".

"He's just smart. Around the ball, he knows when to go, his running patterns are very good. 

"In training I tend to go on the opposition side and try to follow his running patterns, he's quite good at that."

Mathieson is currently on the fringe of the Lions' best 22 and will use the JLT Community Series, starting with Sunday's match against Gold Coast, to push his case for a permanent midfield spot.

The knockabout boy from Lara said he'd treat it like any other game, which means bashing, crashing, and no favours asked from either his teammates or the opposition.