Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Dan Stays the Course with Improving Lions

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Dan Stays the Course with Improving Lions

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Mallinder News Regional

IT'S fair to say Daniel McStay is in a better place now than he was two years ago.

Out of necessity, the promising Brisbane Lions key-position player was thrown to the wolves.

He was barely 20 and, due to a spate of teammates being sidelined with injury, was forced to carry the attack on his young shoulders.

Defeat after defeat wasn't helping his mental state, which was taking its own beating.

"That second year was the hardest," the 2013 draftee said ahead of tomorrow's clash with Carlton at the Gabba.

"I was playing as the key forward and wasn't really getting a lot of the ball."

Despite showing glimpses of his immense athletic prowess, McStay endured a nine-match stint midway through 2015 in which he failed to notch double figures for disposals and only kick five goals.

"You look at the stats and you're getting four or five touches here and there. I found that really difficult," he said.

"That caused me to kind of dislike footy at that stage.

"But since then I've put my best foot forward and the team has done the same.

"I'm starting to really enjoy my footy again and I think a lot of blokes are."

Fast forward to 2017 and while the Lions are still yet to match the 2015 record of four wins, there has been a dramatic increase in optimism.

From Melbourne's east, McStay put pen to paper last month on a new deal tying him to Brisbane until at least 2019, despite the lure of clubs down south.

"I had to assess my options," he said. "I spoke with my manager, my family ... I just decided in the end that Brisbane was the club I wanted to stay at. I think we've got a successful future coming."

McStay's change of outlook has coincided with a change in role under coach Chris Fagan.

After spending the last five months of 2016 recovering from a broken ankle, he was back for round one and in defence alongside Harris Andrews and Darcy Gardiner. …

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