2021 was the year everyone else got in on the secret.

Brandon Starcevich won over Lions fans last year with a breakout season across half back which earned him the Rookie of the Year award at the Club Champions night.

But when the 2021 season dawned, few outside Queensland were talking about the miserly defender.

01:18 Mins
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Best of 2021: Brandon Starcevich

Brandon Starcevich had a very good year down back, playing on the best small forwards of the game and winning the contest every week.

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That all changed as he set about claiming the scalps of the best small forwards in the competition from the first game of the year.

Over a blistering first half of the season Starcevich shut down Tom Papley, Jordan de Goey, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Robbie Gray, Michael Walters, Eddie Betts and Izak Rankine.

By then he was in the All-Australian discussion as, one-by-one, football commentators from Victoria began to sing his praises.

He would go on to play every game for the Club in his fourth year and maintain the same high standards each week. Although he plays the role as the shutdown defender, he also began to gather more of the footy and his explosive pace and booming right leg started to become a weapon.

Ultimately, he would miss selection in the All Australian side as the selectors went for more familiar faces, but there is little doubt he is no longer an unknown quantity to opposition coaches and forwards across the competition.

Inside the Lions his value is well and truly appreciated as he finished fourth in the Merrett-Murray medal, the best among the Club’s defenders.

Standout Performance: 'The Glove' Silences Dusty

Having silenced the likes of Papley, De Goey and Gray just weeks earlier, Brisbane's Round 10 clash against Richmond was Starcevich's biggest test yet.

The football world spent the week salivating at his potential match-up with Dustin Martin, and they weren't disappointed. 

Martin was kept goalless as Starcevich locked down on the 2x Norm Smith Medallist. 

The 22-year-old also managed to collect 17 disposals while also managing 3 marks in a performance that caught the eye of commentators across the country.

01:35 Mins
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22 Under 22: Bailey and Starcevich

Zac Bailey and Brandon Starcevich were in good form all year this and was awarded a spot in the 22 under 22 AFL side.

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Season Averages:

Disposals - 12.4

Kicks - 9

Marks - 3.8

Metres Gained - 252.5

Tackles - 1.7