Future no focus as McStay proves AFL worth

·2-min read

Dan McStay says speculation around his AFL future isn't distracting him as the Brisbane forward proves his worth in the Lions' daring finals run.

The 27-year-old free agent is expected to move to Collingwood next season, having forged a 160-game career in Brisbane since recruited out of Victoria in the 2103 draft.

Flying under the radar for nine seasons, McStay insists the noise around his likely move to the Magpies hasn't impacted his football ahead of Friday's preliminary final against Geelong.

There were some quite moments during the season - McStay went goalless in five of six games - but his worth has been evident during the Lions' improbable passage to the final four.

First, against Richmond in an elimination final, he was thrust into primary ruck duties when Oscar McInerney was knocked out in the third minute.

Then on Friday against Melbourne he moved further up-field to fill the void left by Joe Daniher, who pulled out on gameday when his partner went into labour.

Both times he was crucial in club-defining victories that have given him confidence and delayed the in-demand forward's call on his next move.

"You can speculate and do whatever you want," he replied on Tuesday when a journalist asked if Dan would "McStay or McGo".

"I haven't really thought about it ... playing in a prelim that's the last thing on my mind.

"I didn't really read or hear much about it (earlier in the season); don't have the social media stuff so it doesn't really faze me.

"People will talk and speculate. Let them do that and I'll focus on my footy and the last few weeks I've let my footy do the talking."

McInerney and Daniher will likely return to face the Cats at the MCG, in a replay of the 2020 preliminary final that McStay remembers well.

"The Richmond (qualifying final) game leading in was probably the biggest game we'd ever played in," he said.

"We finally won a final (after losing in straight sets in 2019) and probably came into the Geelong game a little underprepared about what you need to do to win a prelim.

"Now we've played in two massive games, I feel we've got a calmer head and understand what it takes to win these big games.

"We've come in as underdogs, all those hoodoos - (people saying we) 'can't beat Melbourne' - so to be able to do it, definitely it's a great feeling and we're extremely confident now.

"We're just looking forward to getting out there and proving everyone wrong again."

Should Brisbane beat Geelong and Collingwood see off the Swans in Sydney, the Lions will face the Magpies in the grand final at the MCG on September 24.