Paparone passion a good fit for Lions
Marco Paparone. Pic: Getty Images

West Australian Marco Paparone says life at Brisbane is not as bad as most people think.

For one, the 19-year-old is in the rare position as a developing forward of having played every game in just his second AFL season.

Secondly, the Lions' sizeable injury list has meant being thrust into new roles such as the wing, a position he was never exposed to at junior level.

Brisbane are the bookmakers' favourites to finish with the club's first wooden spoon since 1998 after winning just one game so far this season, but Paparone said the mood was not all doom and gloom among the players.

"Everyone's still up and about," he said. "You can see what we're trying to grow as a future for the club. A lot of the kids are excited and the more experienced players are too.

"I think all the young kids are really relishing the opportunity and just really enjoying playing AFL footy. When they get 30 games into their belt, you'll be able to see the team just grow from it."

Earmarked as a potential replacement for Jonathan Brown, Paparone has found a different niche this year after being asked to push on to the wing and urged to run hard.

His breakthrough game came against Essendon a fortnight ago when the East Fremantle product collected 29 disposals and kicked a goal.

The 194cm forward was unlucky not to become the third Lions player to earn a Rising Star nod this year, behind James Aish and Lewis Taylor.

"I wasn't expecting to slot straight into the side from early on in the season, so it's definitely been really good for my confidence," Paparone said.

The 2012 No.23 draft pick is using the club's bye to fly home to Perth for a four-day break with family.

The mid-season visit is a blessing, his father being two years into a battle with lung cancer that has made it difficult living far from home.

"He's really strong," Paparone said. "He's been battling with the cancer for a little while, but every time I go home he's looking better and better. At the moment it's still positive."

Paparone has entered contract talks with the Lions at a delicate time, with the club still reeling from losing five players under 21 to their home States at the end of last year. He said he was enjoying himself in Brisbane, but stopped short of an outright commitment to stay.

"We're just seeing how it pans out and just seeing what my manager and I want to do for the rest of the year," he said.

Brisbane have their best shot at hauling themselves off the bottom after the break, with games against Carlton, Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney.

The West Australian

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