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10:15pm  Nov 24, 2017

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McInerney raring to go for grand final

Anthony Wingard and Jess Webster, NEAFL.com.au  September 7, 2017 12:56 PM

McInerney ahead of Grand Final Oscar McInerney is excited and ready to go for this weekends Grand Final against the Sydney Swans.

Brisbane Lions ruckman Oscar McInerney stood out amongst a consistent Lions NEAFL side in 2017 to claim the Neville Fallon Best-and-Fairest Award last Friday night.

One of only four Lions to play all 18 minor-round NEAFL matches this season, the 23-year-old has had a terrific debut season to be named Brisbane’s best NEAFL player.

A mature-age rookie recruit from VFL club Casey, the 204cm McInerney averaged 25 hit outs and 14 disposals a game, and proved to be a dead-eye in front of the sticks, booting 24.4 for the season.

But McInerney said he was surprised to take home the award, believing any of the Lions’ key contributors could have been recognised for lifting the team from 10th to second in one dominant season.

“I was very surprised to win it, but I’m very humbled by the achievement,” he told neafl.com.au.

“All the boys who have filtered in throughout the year could have won it. I’m very happy to win it.”

McInerney said building a strong relationship with fellow ruckmen Stef Martin and Archie Smith this year has benefited his development greatly, and also adding extra dimension to his game by floating up forward on occasions.

“Having Stef, who is one of the league’s best ruckmen – it’s easy to have someone to look up to and just copy the way they go about training and the weights and diet. The professionalism in general has been great,” he said.

“Arch is a different beast in himself. To follow his way, you sort of learn craft from all of them.

“We base ourselves on being able to play multiple positions. Everyone’s got to be adaptable and when it’s your turn to play your role, you have to make sure you fulfil that.”

McInerney and Smith will play a key role in Brisbane’s quest for their first NEAFL flag since 2013 when they come up against Sydney – the same opponent on Grand Final day four years ago – in a Saturday night blockbuster at the SCG.

With two wins over the Swans in season 2017, McInerney said their best is good enough to upset the minor premier on their home turf.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to get through the Grand Final. All the boys have, all 48 of us, worked extremely hard the season and the rewards are just starting to show in building that winning culture at the club,” he said.

“We’ve always got confidence. We always know our brand, our trademark, can stack up.

“It’s just about rocking up on the day and with 23 contributors playing their role, and then we’re absolutely a chance.”

“It’s going to be pretty heavy in the contested ball area. It’ll be two really good brands at battle and it’s an exciting opportunity for both clubs.” 

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