Lions Academy member Keidean Coleman is determined to make the most of his opportunity in Sunday’s NEAFL decider against Southport.
The exciting young gun – who made history this year as the first academy member to earn selection in the NEAFL Team of the Year – is one of six academy players who will have the opportunity to play on the big stage.
The chance to play in a Grand Final is not lost on Coleman, who says they will give it everything they can do help Brisbane win the flag.
“Obviously there are another six players that I’m sure would like to be playing on that day. Obviously we can’t help it, but it means a lot to us (academy players),” he told neafl.com.au.
“You want to go out there and play the best you can. You don’t want to leave anything on the table because all the other players who missed out would love to be there.
“You want to take that opportunity and grab it with both hands.”
Coleman has led the charge for Brisbane’s academy contingent in season 2019, regularly impressing amongst one of the strongest sides in recent memory packed with AFL-listed talent every week.
The 19-year-old played 17 matches this year and never looked out of place, earning a NEAFL Rising Star nomination in the process.
Coleman said the support from the club, the Lions Academy, and relationships he has built has enabled the AFL Draft prospect to flourish.
“After I missed out in the Draft last year I was looking forward to playing NEAFL and enjoying it even more than last year. I wasn’t expecting to play in nearly every match.
“The boys around me have made me improve off the field, and I’m constantly learning on the field as well.
“It’s been great fun going to training each week. Through the academy, you get to see the standard they (AFL listed players) train and we get a lot of things, like being able to do extras at the Gabba, an all these opportunities that other players don’t, so I’m very grateful.”
Born in Katherine, about 300 kilometres south-east from Darwin in the Northern Territory, Coleman was just 11 years old when he packed his bags for Brisbane to chase the AFL dream.
His ties to his home town are still very strong, and there will be a few family members who will make the trip across the border to watch Coleman in action this weekend in arguably the biggest match of his career so far.
“The support from back home has been great and my mum will fly over from the Northern Territory to watch me play this week,” he said.
“I’ve played in a few junior Grand Finals but this one - being in the NEAFL - it’s going to be even bigger. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Brisbane takes on Southport for the 2019 premiership from 1pm on Sunday at Fankhauser Reserve. The match will be streamed live on NEAFL TV.
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