From ressies battler to AFL finalist in three years
BEING a cult hero isn't for everyone - just ask Oscar McInerney.
The towering 204cm ruck-forward better known as 'The Big O' seems more comfortable booting clutch goals or scaling packs than fronting the press but McInerney's meteoric rise from VFL reserves to the AFL is exactly the stuff cult heroes are made from.
Rewind to 2016 and the softly-spoken McInerney - who spends his off-time volunteering at homeless shelters - was struggling to make his senior footy mark with Melbourne's Casey Scorpions.
Now, the 24-year-old is an integral part of Brisbane's resurgence and will draw on legends of the game as teammates when the Lions tackle Richmond in next weekend's qualifying final.
"I'm living the dream, to be honest," McInerney said.
"It's unbelievable - playing AFL footy was my childhood dream and to be playing on the same team as Luke Hodge and (Dayne) Zorko and Lachie (Neale) is just amazing."
If that seems surreal, try being called 'The Big O' by your star teammates.
"Yeah, I'm not about that really," McInerney laughed.
"I just get to work and try and do my job, I'm not really into any of that stuff."
That unassuming attitude mirrors the man McInerney most admires and aspires to at the club - ruck mentor Stefan Martin.
"He's incredible to look up to both on and off the field, he's the ultimate professional," McInerney said.
"In terms of ruck effectivity, he's one of the best going around so there's no better to look up to there and then even with Archie Smith who's in the system and he's taught me so much as well.
"It was so healthy to have that pre-season where blokes were really competing for spots and the NEAFL's been really strong this year and it definitely showed with the ruck. Archie's played some incredible footy and so's Marto."