Fit-again Lion Answerth gets kick out of injury woes

Murray Wenzel |

Brisbane’s Noah Answerth (right) used his time in rehabilitation to tweak parts of his game.
Brisbane’s Noah Answerth (right) used his time in rehabilitation to tweak parts of his game.

An 18-month groin issue, two shoulder dislocations and a face broken in four places by the skull of an opponent.

Noah Answerth nonchalantly lists the injuries that have hounded him since his debut season for the Brisbane Lions in 2019.

“That’s about it really,” the understated 24-year-old said.

“The medical team, they’ve had a lot to do with me over the last few years.” 

Finally able to play pre-season games for the first time since he was drafted in 2018, the defender reckons he feels like he’s 17 again.

“I’m back to normal now … I have that belief in myself again, enjoying the footy,” Answerth said.

He made the most of the time in rehabilitation, stripping back a kicking technique he suspected had cost him at the selection table.

Answerth credits Lions development coach Scott Borlace for the tweaks he said were a two-year project.

“I know that was probably the knock on me,” he said.

“It’s a lot of repetitive kicking … arm placement, ball drop.

“You hope not to get worse, but a change of technique … golfers do change theirs and have a bad round, and that’s going to happen.

“I was never that bad of a kick, and there’s a lot of components with decision-making and speed of the game. 

“But if I want to play AFL and do the best I can, that’s the thing to work on, and I’m happy to work on my deficiencies if it’ll allow me to play for the team.”

It’s ironic that injuries to fellow defenders Conor McKenna and Keidean Coleman have paved the way for Answerth’s call-up.

Coleman (knee) won’t play again this season, but McKenna (hamstring) will, Answerth able to hold his place with more performances such as Friday’s against North Melbourne.

That victory broke a run of three consecutive losses to begin the season for last year’s grand finalists.

A litmus test awaits on Thursday against Melbourne at the MCG, the Demons on an impressive four-game winning streak since an Opening Round loss to Sydney.

“Down in Melbourne with all my family there, at the MCG and playing footy against Melbourne,” Answerth said. 

“A great side, and to play against the best, that’s where you get to test yourself. 

“They’ve got speed all over the ground and it’s going back to playing our best footy, and we sort of got back to that against North Melbourne.”