DAN McStay is having a career-best year, and since losing offsider Eric Hipwood to a knee injury a month ago, the Brisbane forward has stepped his game up to an even higher level.
The quietly spoken 26-year-old is impacting with the ball and without it and has slightly tweaked his game since Hipwood went down in round 17.
McStay has kicked nine goals in the ensuing four games (2.2 a game, up from 1.2), but also provided an ideal connection between the Lions' midfield and forward line.
"Some of the things Hippy could do, not many players in the comp could do, so it's hard when you lose a guy like him," McStay told AFL.com.au.
"He's such a barometer with his ability to turn a match in a quarter, so losing him hurts us.
"Hippy was very good at connecting play up the field and I've tried to take that role more now that he's been out."
Tom Fullarton came in to replace Hipwood, also playing back-up ruck minutes to Oscar McInerney, which has in turn allowed Joe Daniher more time to play closer to goal.
The flow-on effect has seen McStay roam further afield, bumping his average disposals from nine with Hipwood alongside him to 12.5 without.
A higher percentage of these touches have been in the midfield, which has unleashed another McStay trait – his ability to wheel on to his left boot and find targets inside 50.
"I feel like that's one of my best assets," he said.
"I can see space and I know where forwards want to lead and more often than not I back myself to hit them."
Although his impact with goals and increased time up the ground, McStay says it's another part of his game that has got the plaudits from teammates and coaches.
"One thing I reckon I've really improved is my pressure.
"Tackling and creating forward half turnovers for the team, it's something I haven't done as well in previous years.
"When you do that you feel more involved and play with more confidence and I can build my game off that.
"Previously I tried to build game off kicks, marks and handballs."
McStay has laid 50 tackles this season, already a career-high through just 16 games. Nineteen of those have been inside 50.
"We rank things differently to the general public and media," he said.
"You'll notice last week (against Fremantle) the guys laying tackles were the ones getting praise before the guys kicking the goals.
"That's something we try to emphasise, particularly on the weekend after a tough run of form.
"We really try and promote the selfless side of the game and that's the first thing we recognise.
"It's not always the guys that kicks the goals, it's the guys setting them up."