Noah making his mark at Lions
NOAH Answerth can't believe his good fortune.
A guy who had to spend 13 weeks in a brace after breaking his back in an under-18s game in 2017 doesn't sound particularly lucky, but Answerth says he feels blessed to be paid to play football.
The 19-year-old, who debuted for the Lions in last month's QClash, has signed a contract extension that ties him to the club until the end of 2020.
"Even to get the opportunity for two years in the AFL system is amazing but to get another two is something I never thought would happen,'' he said.
"It has been great to come up here and join Brisbane.
"To be paid to play football is incredible, and to be playing in the AFL side now adds to the excitement.''
The Victorian said his elevation to the senior side had played no part in the decision to add two years to his standard two-year draft contract, it was more about how he settled in over summer.
"It was great to get the offer, that was pretty exciting,'' he said.
"I didn't really have to think much about agreeing to it. I have been made to feel very welcome from the day I arrived here, everyone has been so nice to me.''
Answerth's AFL dream suffered a setback in 2017 when he broke his back and missed the draft.
But he shrugs it off as part of the game and agrees with coach Chris Fagan's view that the extra year it took to crack the AFL may have proven beneficial.
"I was in a brace for 13 weeks but it wasn't too bad really,'' he said.
"It put me out for most of the year but it has worked out to be a good thing, I think.
"Being a bit older when I got drafted and moved interstate probably helped.''
Although Answerth was the club's fifth pick in last year's draft at No.55, he was the first to make his AFL debut and the only first-year player in the senior side.
Lions football manager David Noble said the defender's rapid rise had not surprised anyone at the club, given how fast he had adapted to life in a professional environment.
"Noah has shown improvement in his game from the day he landed at the club,'' he said.
"He is a resilient person, having coped with several setbacks in his early football career but has flourished at the club.
"His growth has been very exciting, showing poise and maturity beyond his years.''