There will be no room for sentiment on Saturday when boyhood Collingwood fan Keidean Coleman attempts to repeat his sizzling preliminary form to torment the Magpies and help secure the Brisbane Lions their first AFL premiership in 20 years.
Half-back Coleman produced a best-on-ground performance in the Lions’ 16-point weekend win over Carlton at the Gabba.
His class and composure was crucial for the Lions after Carlton kicked the game’s first five goals to threaten an upset win.
“I do feel a bit anxious but … I do try to play composed,” 23-year-old Coleman said.
“I don‘t try to rush myself, which is something I’ve grown up doing, especially during my junior career.
“I don’t really think about the game too much. I just back myself. I certainly know what I’m capable of, and I’m happy that it paid off the other night.”
And he’ll be even happier if the Lions beat the Magpies on Saturday at the MCG to claim the club’s first flag since 2003.
That final was also against Collingwood, the team Coleman grew up cheering for and the side he played against – and beat – in his AFL debut for the Lions in September 2020.
“I still remember my debut game, running out against Scotty Pendlebury – it felt surreal,” he said.
“It’s pretty ironic (that) I’m playing a ‘granny’ against a Collingwood team I grew up supporting.”
While Coleman will be one of the first names on Brisbane’s team sheet this weekend, that wasn’t always the case with the Northern Territory product.
He was dropped to the substitute’s role in the Lions’ 98-73 round 13 loss to Hawthorn.
“I was second guessing myself,” said Coleman, who was restored to Brisbane’s top 22 for the following match.
“After that I just thought to myself to back myself. That’s when I play my best footy, when I’m just out there, playing freely and playing on instinct.
“I’m glad I’m back in the team.”
Coleman’s incisive kicking from the half-back line has fed the likes of key forward Joe Daniher, who will also prove vital to the Lions’ hopes of beating Collingwood on Saturday.
“I‘m really enjoying my time here,” said former Essendon star Daniher, who is in his third season with the Lions.
“It‘s been a terrific move for me to come up here and I’ve really enjoyed the football club and the people within it.”
Daniher paid special credit to Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, who was instrumental in luring the former all-Australian representative to Queensland.
“‘Fages’ is a terrific leader for the football club, not only a coach of the playing group but … he’s brought this club forward from a position which wasn‘t a great one,” the 29-year-old sharpshooter said.
“He was able to really steady the ship for the football club and slowly build it.
“It’s taken time. It‘s taken a lot of good people, not only himself, but we find ourselves in a great position.
“I owe him a lot for putting the faith in me to come up here. I’m really pleased with that decision and how it’s played out
“I feel like I’ve found my position within the team, and contributing in the way that he wants me to.
“I’m hopeful that continues for one more game. I’m pleased with the opportunity but there is a lot of work to do before we get what we want.”