Rhys Mathieson’s positive attitude speaks volumes of him as a person and a player.

It also highlights the team-first culture right throughout the club at the Brisbane Lions.

The inside-midfielder is in impressive form in the VFL, which included a standout 49-disposal performance for the Lions against the Northern Bullants a fortnight ago.

Yet the 25-year-old is still unable to break into the Lions’ AFL side, which sits on top of the ladder heading into the bye.

“For me, my attitude is to bring what I know to the young boys in the VFL team,” Mathieson explained.

“It's about bringing my experience to them and have a positive attitude, not dropping my head because I haven't been selected.

“And more or less understand and show the boys that "yes you can play good football, but it's okay not to be picked”, that you have to keep fronting up and trying your best, I think I can lead in that way.”

As commendable as his selfless approach is, the former Geelong Falcon under-18 doesn’t hide the fact he wants to be in Chris Fagan’s side.

He is also under no illusion that playing quality football is only part of the equation.

"Obviously the goal is to play AFL, that's why I'm here,” Mathieson declared.

“As a midfielder, I've got a Brownlow Medallist in Lachie Neale in the AFL side and then Jarryd Lyons who's been in great form.

“There's some understanding around that, and of course there's some frustrations because you want to play in a team of that quality.”

One person who has had a front-row seat to Mathieson’s improvement as a player is his VFL coach Mitch Hahn.

Mathieson’s effort and approach had Hahn full of praise for the agile contested ball-winner.

"Matho is definitely on our players who brings great energy to the team, which makes his teammates feel good and strive to be better players,” Hahn highlighted.

"This season we've seen him elevate his game to another level.

“He's such a competitive person and player, and he is one of the boys that drives to set the standards in our VFL team.

“He's been working on finding the balance between his passion for the game and his ability to share his knowledge with his teammates, to be able to show more of that teaching and education side to his teammates to growing that part of his game.”


And that’s exactly what Mathieson wants to do, be a leader within the VFL side and use his own experiences to mentor and support his teammates.

One of those younger players is Thomas Berry, a young teammate of Mathieson who is also striving to play more AFL games.

The pair share more than just the same aspiration, they have a close bond on and off the field.

"Tommy and I are brothers in a funny sort of way. I live with him and he's in a similar position to me where he's been a bit unlucky because of the success of our team,” Mathieson said.

“But he's constantly putting pressure on the senior boys, his form has been outstanding in the VFL and he's missed a week here or there being the sub and he consistently plays well.

“It's good to have someone like that and live with someone like that who's in a similar boat and we definitely look out for each other and drive each other to constantly be pushing towards that next level."