BEING snubbed at the 2018 draft remains a motivating factor for emerging Brisbane Lions talent Keidean Coleman.
Having finally been given a chance at AFL level this month, Coleman has fitted in seamlessly to a premiership-chasing Lions side that finishes its regular season campaign with a meeting against Carlton at Gabba on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old midfielder’s poise and composure on the ball in his three appearances has defied his inexperience and should he maintain his form, it’s hard to see him losing his spot for the finals series.
“I was pretty confident coming into my first game … I wasn’t really nervous,” said Coleman in reflecting on his recent debut against Collingwood at the Gabba.
“I just wanted to come in and play my role, tackle … have a lot of fun and just bring pressure.
“I’d like to say I’m pretty composed as a player, not try to rush myself. I just like to back myself in, be composed and just back my skills.”
However, less than two years ago Northern Territory product Coleman was doubting himself after the being overlooked in the AFL draft.
“I had a chat with my aunty and said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue footy of not,” he said.
“That’s when I went back to Katherine and stayed there for about four weeks. I had a chat with my mum back there and she said to just give it another crack.
“She knows that I’m a good footballer and she had faith in me. It was her encouragement that encouraged me to fulfil my dreams.”
Coleman said the draft snub was a lesson for him and continued to drive him.
“I like to use it an encouragement and self-belief to be able to do things better now,” he said.
He returned to Brisbane last year to remain part of the club’s academy as an over-age player.
Coleman was also a standout in the Lions’ NEAFL premiership-winning team, with his improvement leading the club picking him in last year’s draft.
“At the start of the year I just wanted to work on my craft, and show to (Lions coach Chris) Fagan and all the coaching staff that I’d like to get an opportunity at AFL level,” he said.
Coleman’s popularity with his teammates was evident when they gathered around him after he kicked his first AFL goal in the Lions’ 32-point weekend win over the Sydney Swans in Cairns.
It came less than a week after he blew a certain six-pointer when he opted to handball to teammate Dan McStay instead of kicking at goal from close distance in Brisbane’s 45-point victory over the Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba.
“It’s a habit of mine being unselfish. I grew up doing that in the junior ranks, just trying to bring my teammates into the game,” Coleman said.