A few years ago, Noah Answerth thought his footy career could be over, but in a turn of fortune, he is now preparing for the AFL Finals Series with the Brisbane Lions in his first year as a professional athlete.

As a 17- year-old playing for the Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup Answerth suffered a serious back injury, which ruled him out for the remainder of his draft year. But he persevered and returned to footy, playing an extra year of TAC Cup as an over-ager. At the 2018 NAB AFL Draft the Lions selected him with Pick No. 55 overall.

He could not have imagined a better 2019 season as a draftee. The 20-year-old made his debut against the Gold Coast SUNS in Round 6 and has only lost four games this year, having taken part in 12 wins.

Answerth is also the only 2019 draftee to make his debut this year and was nominated for a Rising Star for his Round 20 performance against the Western Bulldogs.

“It’s not bad of course, coming in as a late draft pick I never thought it would happen, to let alone get a game,” he said.

“Then to play a few and get a Rising Star nomination is something you don’t really think about but it’s good to get the recognitions as well.

“It’s been a really good year in the win/loss. I’ve been lucky because a lot of other players don’t get that ratio I guess.”

Although there has been plenty to celebrate for Answerth this year, there has been a lot of hard work and learning curves behind the scenes.

“It’s been really good coming into a professional environment, you’ve got to cook for yourself and learn a bit more about yourself off field,” he said.

This week he started a carpentry apprenticeship with Marshall at ReeBuild which he is very excited about.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, finding other hobbies outside of footy. Because that was my hobby used to be growing up,” he said.