TWO little known Lions with two very different backgrounds are suddenly in the frame to play finals after grabbing their late-season chances.
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Fullback Jack Payne has come in as the understudy to injured vice-captain Harris Andrews, and small forward Keidean Coleman got his opportunity when Lincoln McCarthy copped a one-match suspension ahead of the recent blockbuster against Collingwood.
Both Brisbane Academy products have flourished, and strong outings in Saturday night's final round against Carlton would make them very difficult to dislodge for a qualifying final two weeks later.
Coleman's story is one of perseverance, moving to Brisbane from his home town of Katherine in the Northern Territory midway through primary school to further both his classroom and football educations.
He was overlooked in his draft year (2018) but remained as an over-age player in the Lions' Academy and was instrumental in the club's 2019 NEAFL premiership.
Coleman would not be overlooked again, earning his draft call-up last November.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the 20-year-old said it was his mother that kept faith when his own wavered following his initial draft rejection.
"It might have been a week after graduating school. I had a chat to my aunty (who he lives with) and said I wasn't sure whether I wanted to continue footy or not," Coleman said.
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"That's when I went back to Katherine for about four weeks and had a chat to my mum and she said to have another crack.
"She knows I'm a good footballer and she had faith in me.
"It was more her encouragement that encouraged me to fulfill my dreams."
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In his three senior appearances, Coleman has shown composure beyond his experience, averaging 10 disposals and five tackles, looking right at home.
The only mis-step he's shown so far, if you can call it that, is his trait of being a little too unselfish at times, never more evident than handballing to an unsuspecting Dan McStay against Gold Coast when an open goal beckoned.
He rectified that against Sydney in Cairns on Sunday, tip-toeing along the boundary line in the fourth quarter before side-stepping Luke Parker to kick his first career goal.
Payne is another to grab his chance with both hands, shoe-horned into the key defender's role following Andrews' hamstring injury.
The 197cm brute played against Richmond earlier in the season and has looked more settled against the Suns and Swans.
He comes from a background in discus and said there was an unlikely crossover between the sports.
"It might sound funny, but footwork," Payne said.
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"When you're doing discus, it's a lot of footwork stuff and balance, so when you're flying for your marks, that can help you – footwork and technique.
"I did discus for about four years and the year before my draft year … thought why not give it a good shot to hopefully fulfil my dream of playing AFL?
"I gave away discus to chase my AFL dream and it came true thankfully."