As Jack Payne prepares for one of the toughest assignments in the AFL on Friday night, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan says the defender's growing belief in his own ability has helped establish him at the highest level.

Payne has played all seven games in 2023 as a key defender – taking him to 34 games in his young career – and formed a strong relationship alongside co-captain Harris Andrews.

At Marvel Stadium on Friday night, the 23-year-old is likely to man Carlton's Charlie Curnow, fresh off nine goals against West Coast and equal with Jeremy Cameron (30 goals) in the Coleman Medal race.

There's not many greater challenges in the competition at the moment, but speaking on Thursday at Brisbane Airport prior to his team's flight south, Fagan said there was no reason Payne could not continue his strong form.

"He's just looking confident, isn't he?" Fagan said.

"That continuity, the fact he played in all the finals last year, he's starting to believe in himself and feels like he belongs at AFL level.

"He's played on some pretty decent players this year and has done a great job. I can't see why he can't continue that tomorrow night."

Although Payne had already showed he was good enough to play in the AFL, the door was swung wide open for a regular run of games after Marcus Adams was put on the inactive list with ongoing concussion problems.

Payne could man either Curnow or Harry McKay against the Blues, with his 197cm and 101kg frame possessing good speed and strength.

The Queensland product has lost just three of his 18 contested defensive one-on-ones this season.

"I think he's always had the ability to intercept mark and spoil like he has," Fagan said.

"I think maybe he just doubted himself a little bit, so the transition in his own mind now that he belongs at AFL level is the thing that's changed him around.

"That's always the case with young players, a lot of them have ability, it's just do they really believe they belong? And I think that's what's happened with Jack."

The Lions coach was tight-lipped about who would come in to replace injured veterans Dayne Zorko (hamstring) and Daniel Rich (calf).

He praised versatile Noah Answerth after he played one quarter against Fremantle last week as a substitute.

"It's going to be a finals-like atmosphere… we're looking forward to the opportunity," he said. "It's a good test for us."