It’s been a case of right place, right time for WA-bred Brisbane midfielder Deven Robertson.
After just four home-and-away appearances this season to go with one as an unused medical substitute, Robertson has forced his way into the side for both of Brisbane’s finals wins.
The 21-year-old from Northam via Perth Football Club in the WAFL admits it’s been an up-and-down and at times frustrating season, which included a 70-day wait between AFL games before getting the call-up to replace injured on-baller Jarryd Lyons for the elimination-final against Richmond at the Gabba last Thursday.
He held his spot for the Lions’ stunning come-from-behind semifinal victory over reigning premiers Melbourne on Friday night and did his job once again.
“It’s a funny thing, you know,” Robertson said.
“This year has been pretty frustrating for me. I’ve just been trying to get myself into the team all year and played a handful of games, then come finals time things have fallen in my favour.”
Despite the uncertainly about his place in the side, Robertson, who is contracted until at least the end of next year, insists moving back home to WA to join West Coast or Fremantle has never crossed his mind.
“I love it here in Brisbane, I see myself here for the long-term,” he said.
Just like his days as a carnival-winning WA under-18s skipper and Larke medallist, he has a team-first and selfless attitude towards his role, running with superstars of the competition including Richmond captain Trent Cotchin, fellow triple premiership hero Dion Prestia, Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca and Brownlow Medal fancy Clayton Oliver.
“I’m just playing my role, it’s nothing special. I’m not trying to go out there and be among the best players,” he said.
While he didn’t dominate the stats sheet against the Demons, Robertson had a team-high seven tackles, including six in the first half when he was assigned to Oliver, to highlight his importance defensively.
“I went to Oliver in the first half then went out onto the wing in the second half,” he said.
“It was just amazing to be out there. I thought everyone did a really good job tonight.
“I thought Jarrod Berry was great when he went on Oliver and everyone did a fantastic job, it’s just a pleasure to play with these boys.”
Robertson said while the Lions were rapt with their start to the finals campaign, the job was far from done ahead of a blockbuster Friday night preliminary-final against Geelong at the MCG.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, the job’s not done,” he said.
“We’ve still got two more games we want to win. We’re happy with the two we’ve won but we’re certainly not happy with our overall season so far, we want to go all the way.
“We’ll come out next week and try to do the same again.”
Robertson said there was a real WA flavour at the Lions with fellow Sandgropers Callum Ah Chee, Daniel Rich, Jaxon Prior, Brandon Starcevich, James Tunstill and Kalin Lane.
He had been somewhat inspired by Starcevich’s journey, turning his back on a potential move back home to become one of the team’s most important players.
“He had the opportunity to come home but he’s stuck at it and playing finals footy,” Robertson said.