There was one part of Noah Answerth's game holding him back from being a regular contributor at AFL level – his kicking.

So rather than wallow in rehabilitation misery over the past few years as he dealt with injury after injury, the rugged Brisbane defender got to work on remodelling his approach to one of the game's fundamental skills.

After injuries to Keidean Coleman and Conor McKenna gave the 24-year-old a path back into the Lions' defensive unit, his hard work was on display in a strong outing against North Melbourne last Friday.



Answerth said working with development coach Scott Borlace had made a huge difference to his game.

"I've done a lot of work on my kicking," Answerth said ahead of facing Melbourne on Thursday night.

"I know that's been a knock, and probably why I was struggling to play in the AFL.

"It's a lot of repetitive kicking. The action, where my balance arm is, my hand beside my body when I'm dropping the footy.

"It took, honestly, two years of doing it consistently while I was injured and have a real focus on it.

"You've got to go out of your way to work on it and figure out what your deficiency is and that was mine."

Although conceding it's a constant work in progress, Answerth said the fundamentals, coupled with his decision-making and remaining calm on the field, were big factors in his improvement.

Since being drafted as a 19-year-old following a back fracture in his junior years, Answerth has been riddled with bad luck.

"I've had groins, that was 18 months. Popped my shoulder out, got it fixed, popped it out again, got it fixed. Broke my face and had four fractures and all of those got fixed up. That's about it, really," he said.

"I've got 11 screws in my face. When I saw Jonathan Brown after it, he said 'Don't worry, mate, I've got 66'."

Even Answerth had a wry grin as he rattled through the catalogue of problems. Incredibly this was the first year he had ever played pre-season matches.

And now he's been thrust into a backline that has been constantly changing since the start of the season.

"It's good to get back and be fully fit and have my body right and now get the opportunity to play," he said.

"I'm back to normal now, back to when I was 17 … that belief in myself now that I'm injury free. I'm enjoying my footy at that level (again)."