Daniel McStay relishing Brisbane Lions’ finals ride after tough run to start career

Daniel McStay hasn’t had an easy ride to 100 games, so it’s little wonder he’s relishing the chance to be part of a Brisbane Lions side gunning for a home qualifying final.

Brisbane have successfully drummed into their players coach Chris Fagan’s “one week at a time” mentality — but it’s a bit harder for some than others.

Dan McStay, who will play his 100th AFL game when the Lions take on the Cats at the Gabba on Saturday, is one example.

His first years in the AFL were tough — he won just 18 of his 79 games before this season.

The club he has recently re-signed with and the one he joined in the 2014 draft are vastly different places.

Brisbane has gone from five wins in each of the past two years to 15 and counting this season, including their current streak of eight, so it is fair to say few Lions are even close to boasting winning percentages across their careers.

However, even if it took a couple of years for the results to come, the future looked bright from the start for the crop of youngsters who arrived in the past three season.

The same can’t be said for those who have been around a bit longer, which is why they can’t help getting a little caught up in the excitement of a return to the finals.

“We’re taking it week by week and all that, but also enjoying the ride,” McStay said.

“Footy can be a very hard place at times, but when things are going well you’ve got to enjoy it.

“We’ve had some pretty tough times, so it is a nice change. We’re really thriving at the moment but hoping to continue that success for years to come.”

Until this year the powerful forward had never played in a win against West Coast, Sydney, St Kilda, Adelaide or GWS.

He is still yet to sing the song against the Lions’ next two opponents, the Cats and Richmond.

The results of those games will determine where Brisbane finish and, most importantly, home ground advantage in September, but McStay says no one will be budging from Fagan’s approach this week.

“It’s all the same messaging, as I’m sure you’re aware, but it’s honestly the way we talk about it in meetings,” he said.

“We haven’t worried about results the last eight weeks and it’s worked well for us, so it’s the way we continue to grow.”

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